Tourism Board chief Dane Cheng on Saturday said Hong Kong is making good progress on its recovery path and he expected more tourists to come during May's Golden Week national holidays.
Speaking on a radio programme, he said the tourism industry was recovering, with the number of mainland tourists and East Asian tourists returning to 45 percent and 60 percent of pre-pandemic levels respectively.
Cheng said Hong Kong still lacked about a third of the required manpower, including tour guides, and he said large tour groups would return only when the SAR was ready.
He added that Hong Kong needed to attract more high-spending tourists, hopefully by bringing back international exhibitions.
"In the last couple of years, because when Hong Kong reopened, we were slightly behind the other cities, so some of these exhibitions and conventions have moved to other countries or other cities," Cheng said.
"The government has kindly given us some more budget in the coming two years, in order to compete with other destinations to bring these conventions and exhibitions back to Hong Kong."
Earlier, the Travel Industry Authority said there had been complaints about mainland tour groups being forced to shop in Hong Kong but, after following up, it had yet to discover any illegal acts.
In response, Cheng said authorities would be taking action to make sure tourists weren't affected.
The Golden Week holiday, around Labour Day on May 1, is one of three major national holidays, along with with Lunar New Year and National Day in October. Before the pandemic, Hong Kong's hotels and tourist attractions were packed at these times as mainland visitors took the opportunity to come to the SAR.