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HKTB announces details of Hong Kong winterfest 2003

This years Hong Kong Winterfest – a spectacular mega-event organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) from 28 November 2003 to 4 January 2004 …

This years Hong Kong Winterfest – a spectacular mega-event organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) from 28 November 2003 to 4 January 2004 – set to be an unforgettable parcel of experiences this festive winter season.

At a press conference to announce the event details today, HKTB Executive Director Ms Clara Chong said that Hong Kong Winterfest achieved positive results last year, with visitor arrivals totalling a record-breaking 1.67 million in December. The event also received enthusiastic feedback from the travel trade, media and visitors. Christmas and New Year are times for joy, love and sharing. By adding these elements and the wish-making traditions in our programmes, Hong Kong Winterfest will even be more attractive this year, she said.

This year, the event will take place in Core Central, the heart of Hong Kong`s central business district. The focal point of the festivities will be Statue Square, which will be transformed into a `Christmas Wonderland` with the colourful festive decorations and a 12-storey high (111 feet or 33.5 metres) `Christmas Wishing Tree`. This tallest Christmas tree in Hong Kong will be decorated with light bulbs in different colours that will be illuminated by a computerised system to create synchronised lighting and musical effects. The synchronised lighting show will be staged every 30 minutes from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly.

In addition, there will be a `Jingle Bells Boulevard` for people to make their wishes. Running from the Star Ferry Pier through the covered walkway and pedestrian tunnel to Statue Square, the boulevard will be lined with jingling Christmas bells on both sides. Visitors can write their wishes on the wishing tags included in the `Hong Kong Winterfest Activities Guide` or obtained from staff on site and tag them onto the bells.

Other decorations in the `Christmas Wonderland` will include the `Reindeer Express` – a miniature reindeer sleigh in motion – and four colourful and festive real size horse sculptures. These horses, one of which is supported by the HKTB, belong to the `Horses Across Hong Kong` promotion by the Hong Kong Jockey Club. Besides the colourful displays, a variety of street performances such as organ recitals and carol singing will add to the fun-filled, carnival spirits of the `Christmas Wonderland`.

Besides the colourful lighting of the `Christmas Wonderland`, buildings in Central and those on both sides of the harbour will glisten with festive lights during the event period. The theme of colourful lighting and Hong Kong Winterfest will be echoed throughout Hong Kong Island as eight trams will be decorated with festive displays and lights.

As Santa Claus is very much part of the Christmas festivities, the HKTB is co-ordinating a spectacular appearance of Santa around town during the event period to enhance the overall festive ambience. Besides appearing in `Santa`s House` within `Christmas Wonderland`, Santa will show up at Hong Kong International Airport and the Lo Wu Border Crossing to present visitors with season`s greetings and the Activities Guide. On 3 December, over 60 visitors acting as Santa Claus will travel from the United States to spread joy and goodwill to visitors and local residents in Hong Kong.

The HKTB plans to organise special celebratory activities on certain dates including Christmas Eve and New Year`s Eve. The Board will also promote to visitors a galaxy of other events such as the World Carnival at Tamar, the 38th Hong Kong Products Expo in Victoria Park, the traditional festive lighting in Tsim Sha Tsui East and other areas, and the Hong Kong Jockey Club`s `Horses Across Hong Kong` and International Races on 14 December. From 20 December onwards, the Tourism Commission will stage the `Symphony of Lights` – a choreographed light and sound show – against the backdrop of the magnificent Victoria Harbour, which will become Hong Kong`s new, permanent tourist attraction and make the city shine even more brightly.

To ride on the winter sale promotions of the festive season, the HKTB has produced the Hong Kong WinterFest Shopping and Dining Privileges guide featuring a collection of special offers to enhance visitors` experience. In addition, the Hong Kong WinterFest Passport to Amazing Offers provides an array of gift-giving ideas recommended by local merchants. Visitors shopping at the participating malls and department stores will be able to collect `gift cards` for sharing their best wishes with families and friends, another HKTB channel to promote Hong Kong Winterfest among visitors and local residents.

Dining has not been forgotten as visitors will be encouraged to enjoy unforgettable culinary experiences in Hong Kong. A total of six Themed Food Districts including The Peak, Murray House in Stanley, Food Street in Causeway Bay, Lan Kwai Fong, Knutsford Terrace and the Hillwood Road Soho will put up festive decorations including bunting and posters of Hong Kong Winterfest. To date, 100 restaurants in these districts have already agreed to offer special menus for visitors. Many of them will set up `wishing corners` and dress their staff in festive clothing to enhance the seasonal atmosphere.

All these events and promotions will provide a valuable marketing platform for the travel trade and the business sector to promote their businesses. To help visitors participate in the various events, the HKTB has published a Hong Kong Winterfest Activities Guide, which incorporates the Shopping and Dining Privileges guide. It will be distributed at the HKTB Visitor Information and Services Centres and various entry points as well as by the travel trade.

The HKTB has been actively publicising Hong Kong WinterFest around the world through travel trade and consumer promotions and is strongly encouraging the travel trade to develop special tours featuring family travel, shopping and dining. Travel trade partners in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Mainland China, Southeast Asia and the US have already introduced tours with Hong Kong Winterfest elements while local travel agents have introduced four Hong Kong Winterfest tours with special discounts for in-town visitors. Furthermore, the Board is bringing in over 270 global trade and media representatives to experience the unique Christmas atmosphere in Hong Kong so that they can help promote such experiences in their markets.

Hong Kong WinterFest is the fourth mega-event of the HKTB`s Global Tourism Revival Campaign, designed to sustain the tourism revival and reinforce Hong Kong`s standing as one of the Events and Entertainment Capitals of Asia. Following Hong Kong WinterFest will be the International Chinese New Year Night Parade in January 2004. Another major programme is the pre-launch of Avenue of Stars in March 2004 to capitalise on visitors` interest in Hong Kong movies.

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