Hong Kong’s Bold Tourism Campaign During SARS: It Will Take Your Breath Away

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Written By Henry Dalziel

I've been living and working in Hong Kong since 2016 as an SEO Professional.

In 2003, Hong Kong ran a tourism campaign with the slogan It will steal your breath away. This was at the height of the SARS pandemic, which was a particularly dangerous strain of pneumonia. Hong Kong was one of the hardest afflicted areas in the world at the time, with over 300 confirmed cases and scores of deaths. Many people criticised the phrase for being insensitive given the gravity of the situation. The Hong Kong Tourism Board, on the other hand, defended the ad, claiming that it was designed to be aspirational and demonstrate that the city was recovering from the outbreak. Despite the criticism, the campaign was successful in increasing Hong Kong tourists. Visitors climbed by 10% in the months following the campaign’s introduction compared to the prior year.
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