Hong Kong will swing into full festive merry-making at the beginning of December with Hong Kong WinterFest…
Hong Kong will swing into full festive merry-making at the beginning of December with Hong Kong WinterFest – a month-long extravaganza of fun-filled events, organised by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB).
Between December 2002 and January 2003 visitors and residents will be able to indulge themselves in a series of romantic and spectacular activities. Hong Kong WinterFest, the fifth major event under the HKTB`s City of Life: Hong Kong is it! tourism campaign, is presented by New World Development Company Limited.
The HKTB`s Executive Director Ms Clara Chong and Director and Group General Manager of New World Development Company Limited, Mr Stewart Leung announced details of the programme at a press conference.
Speaking at the press conference, Ms Chong explained that Hong Kong WinterFest is a sustainable event that will promote the colourful winter festive celebrations, which are uniquely Hong Kong. It will also highlight and strengthen Hong Kong`s desired position as the Events Capital of Asia.
Before we began bringing together the activities under Hong Kong WinterFest, we conducted a detailed study on the existing products we offer and the expectations from visitors, Ms Chong said. The Golden Bauhinia Square was chosen as the venue not only because of its special meaning to Hong Kong but also because of its advantageous location overlooking Victoria Harbour.
In order to publicise the event, a few months ago a series of promotional activities was launched around the world, Ms Chong added. We have organised a My Hong Kong Dream promotion in a number of markets, inviting the lucky winners to take part in the WinterFest events in Hong Kong. Around 50 international media groups are also on their way to cover the related activities and programmes, Ms Chong noted. We would like to express our gratitude to the New World Development Company Limited for sponsoring the hotel accommodation for the winners and the media.
Ms Chong expects that Hong Kong WinterFest will attract around 1.7 million visitors, representing a 16% growth compared with the same period last year. According to latest information, more than 170,000 visitors from short-haul markets alone will join special tours, thereby generating important additional tourism receipts for Hong Kong.
Mr Leung said that firmly planting its roots in Hong Kong and being a responsible enterprise, New World Group is committed to developing and promoting the tourism industry. Apart from attracting visitors through repackaging events and attractions during the peak season in December, the rationale for the Group to present Hong Kong WinterFest is to create a festive ambience for the whole community, he added.
During the programme period between 1 December 2002 and 5 January 2003, a giant computerised Xmas Wishing Tree will be the focal point at the Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai. A spectacular Switch-on Ceremony is scheduled for 1 December, which will be co-ordinated with a `lights up` of the buildings lining Victoria Harbour. The organisation of the lighting displays on both side of the Harbour is being supported by a number of property developers.
The 34-metre (110-foot) Xmas Wishing Tree is likely to gain recognition as a Guinness World Record as the world`s Largest All-weather Christmas Wishing Tree. Santa Claus will be flying to Hong Kong from Finland to join the festivities and greet his large following of admirers between 20 and 22 December.
The Wishing Tree will be decorated with blue and silver Christmas balls and covered with more than 20,000 light bulbs in four different colours that will be illuminated by a computerised lighting system, which can create 68 different lighting effects. After the Switch-on Ceremony on 1 December, the tree will light up the world-renowned Victoria Harbour every night from 6 pm until midnight.
Visitors and residents can make a wish by simply filling in a Wish Form and handing it to the HKTB staff on site.
All the wishes will appear on an electronic monitor next to the Wishing Tree after being scrutinised. From 8:00 pm until 10:00 pm each night, a lucky wish-maker will be selected every 30 minutes. His or her wish will be shown on a giant LED board and the likelihood of the wish-come-true will be indicated by the level of lighting reached on the Xmas Wishing Tree. The wish-maker will receive a souvenir.
The WinterFest is set to reach its climax between 20 and 22 December, as a three-night outdoor party, the City of Life Street Carnival, will be presented under different themes each evening. The star-studded performance will feature 54 local, Asian and international pop singers, musicians and bands, including household names such as world-renowned pianist Yundi Li, international musician Eugene Pao, and world-known bands The Planets and BeatleMania Live.
The three-night City of Life Street Carnival has received strong support from a number of local record companies, while Metro Broadcast is the Show Manager of the event. For the list of performers, please refer to the attachment.
On 20 December (Friday), artistes in different coloured outfits will join the carnival under the theme of World Colours, symbolising Hong Kong`s diversity of cultures. The city`s energy, rhythm and vibrancy will again be showcased to the full on 21 December (Saturday) at the World Party, when artistes will perform various dance routines, such as Latin, Tango, Can-Can and Hip-Hop. The carnival with the theme of World United on 22 December (Sunday) falls on the Winter Solstice, which for Chinese people is a festival of family gathering. Artistes from different parts of the world will perform to signify that Hong Kong is a meeting point for different races and cultures.
At the carnival on 22 December, a Fantasia Parade will conjure up a festive atmosphere when children in multi-cultural costumes and painted faces or colourful masks will celebrate the festive season.
Visitors and local residents are welcome to take part in the City of Life Street Carnival by presenting admission tickets. Starting from 18 December, visitors can obtain free tickets on a first come, first served basis at the HKTB`s Visitor Information and Services Centres at Star Ferry Concourse, Tsim Sha Tsui and The Center in Central. A special visitor zone will be arranged at the Carnival for tour groups. Local residents can get their tickets from Metro Broadcast. Details will be announced in due course.
As dining is an important part of the festive celebrations, during Hong Kong WinterFest, visitors will be encouraged to enjoy unforgettable culinary experiences at various Themed Food Districts. Restaurants at Knutsford Terrace on Observatory Road, Tsim Sha Tsui will present special dishes and drinks. An exciting launch ceremony is scheduled at 4 pm on 8 December (Sunday).
On 10 and 17 December (Tuesdays), renowned local food critic Mr Chua Lam will host a special buffet feast at Whampoa Gourmet Place, featuring signature specialities from each of the 14 restaurants located in the building. Diners can enjoy the best of each outlet at a buffet, instead of visiting the restaurants individually.
In conjunction with Hong Kong WinterFest, restaurants in Causeway Bay`s Fashion Square will offer speciality dishes and exciting activities on 14 and 15 December (Saturday and Sunday).
From 20 December 2002 to 5 January 2003, special booths will be set up along the waterfront at the Golden Bauhinia Square. Well known breweries will host booths at the Biergarten, serving beer with Chinese barbecued pork and other roasted delicacies to make it a multi-cultural dining experience. Visitors and locals can compete against each other in a drinking contest.
To enhance Hong Kong`s image as a family travel destination, latest games will be featured at Kids` World, with roving entertainers such as stilt walkers, magicians and clowns walking around to spice up the carnival atmosphere.
There is also a Must Buy, Must Eat Bazaar with merchants promoting Hong Kong Must Buy souvenir items and other Hong Kong products. Winning restaurants of the HKTB`s Best of the Best Culinary Awards and other caterers will showcase delicacies and snacks. New World Development Company Limited will also operate booths to promote their services and business.
The activities we are showcasing at the Golden Bauhinia Square epitomise the variety of attractions available here in the City of Life, Ms Chong added. There are numerous events and places of interest that are also worth seeing in other parts of Hong Kong. We will repackage these programmes, together with a number of special tours, in order to create an unforgettable holiday for visitors. Information about these activities will be included in a leaflet to help visitors to locate them.
The operating hours of the booths are 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm on weekdays, 12:00 noon to 10:00 pm on Saturdays and public holidays, and 12:00 noon to 12:00 mid-night on Christmas Eve and New Year`s Eve. Admission is free.
Taking place at the same time as Hong Kong WinterFest, the 37th Hong Kong Products Expo will be staged at the Tamar Site, Admiralty. The extravaganza will showcase Hong Kong products, food items and other attractions, turning the waterfront from Admiralty to Wan Chai into a leisure, shopping and entertainment-filled area. The HKTB is working closely with the Chinese Manufacturers` Association of Hong Kong to promote both events.
The HKTB has been actively promoting Hong Kong WinterFest around the world to attract more visitors during the winter season. To welcome visitors and give them a festive feeling as soon as they arrive in the city, six billboards, each six feet tall with images depicting the Xmas Wishing Tree will be erected at the baggage claim area inside Hong Kong International Airport.
The HKTB is producing promotional leaflets for distribution at its Visitor Information and Services Centres. The publication will also be available at New World Development Company Limited`s shopping malls and transport facilities.
To boost publicity, starting from 25 November, an API (Announcement of Public Interest) will be shown and transmitted during the Government`s free TV and radio airtime in Hong Kong, as well as at New World Development Company Limited`s shopping malls and transport facilities.
Hong Kong WinterFest, which is organised by the HKTB and presented by New World Development Company Limited, is the fifth major event of the City of Life: Hong Kong is it! campaign. The tourism campaign is organised by the HKTB in co-operation with the Hong Kong SAR Government`s Home Affairs Department, Leisure and Cultural Services Department and Tourism Commission, with the support of the 18 District Councils and with The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust as Principal Sponsor.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.