Hong Kong enhances 2005 WinterFest Programme

Travel News Asia 11 November 2005

This years Hong Kong WinterFest, now in its fourth consecutive year, will run from 25 November to 2 January 2006. This Mega Event will feature an even larger Santas Town, more festive programmes and activities, and greater industry participation, all of which will promise a warm, joyful and unforgettable winter holiday for family visitors.

Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) Executive Director Clara Chong said that many visitors, especially from short-haul markets, love to spend the Christmas season in Hong Kong to experience the citys colourful festivities. We estimate that this years event will attract even more visitors than the 2.55 million last year, bringing the total yearly arrivals to our target of 23 million, she said.

Ms Chong added that over the past years, Hong Kong WinterFest has continued to enjoy increasing popularity among visitors and local residents. This year, were determined to make the event even bigger and better, she said. As well as enhancing the programme elements, well step up publicity for the event locally and overseas.

Weve already started our promotions worldwide, which include a promotional video and advertisements featuring celebrities Leo Ku and Miriam Yeung, Ms Chong remarked. Were confident that this Mega Event will make Hong Kong the focus of Christmas and New Year celebrations in Asia, and present a colourful prelude to 2006 Discover Hong Kong Year.

A Larger Santas Town

This year, Santas Town in Central will extend beyond Statue Square and into Charter Garden during weekends and public holidays. The focal points will be the Snowy Chapel and a two-storey-high Santas Clock Tower. Together with other lighting and decorations, Hong Kongs central business district will be transformed into a picturesque European-style Christmas town.

More Children and Christmas Elements

Ms Chong said that this years WinterFest would continue to carry the theme of Love and Care. Were putting in even more family-friendly elements, she explained. As well as attracting family visitors, we want to encourage business travellers to bring along their families and companions during their visit to Hong Kong.

To create a truly unique and memorable Christmas experience for families, Santas Town will feature various themed settings. These include Santas Lodge, where children can take photos with Santa Claus from Finland; Santas Workshop, where children can learn to bake Christmas snacks; Buddies Photo Corner for children to  put on Christmas costumes and pose for snapshots; and an exhibition of Madame Tussauds wax figures that include the British Royal Family and such international celebrities as Jackie Chan and David Beckham.

To conjure up the festive spirit, the HKTB is bringing in more Christmas traditions, such as the Festive Calendar. As well as providing reminders that Christmas is coming, children can enjoy candies each day. In addition, a Nativity Corner will display Christmas collectibles and ornaments relating to the birth of Jesus Christ. Owing to the popularity last year, the pedestrian tunnel connecting Statue Square and Star Ferry will again be transformed into a Mistletoe Boulevard festooned with overhanging mistletoe. As for the Dazzling Christmas Tree, a music village will be installed at its bottom to provide nightly musical performance.

As in past years, visitors and local residents can hang wishing cards prepared by the HKTB in Santas Town to make their wishes. During weekends and public holidays, there will be performances and carol singing by local and international performing groups. The HKTB will also package a wide variety of activities staged by other organisations during the WinterFest period to enrich the visitor experience.

Greater Participation by Tourism Industry Partners

The proven success of Hong Kong WinterFest has attracted even greater enthusiasm and participation by local merchants this year. To date, close to 4,000 merchant outlets and restaurants have agreed to offer visitors shopping and dining privileges. The HKTB will produce a Hong Kong WinterFest Passport to Special Offers highlighting offers by merchants accredited under the Quality Tourism Services scheme.

To entice visitors of the newly emerged consumption visit segment in Mainland China to come to Hong Kong for shopping and entertainment, the HKTB is collaborating with China UnionPay to promote the event in the Mainland, especially in the South China region and those cities newly added to the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS). A great incentive to spend will be double bonus points for China UnionPay card spending at designated shopping malls and merchants in Hong Kong.

The HKTB is publicising the event locally through different channels. As well as advertisements on TV, radio, publications and public transport, the Board will strengthen the meet-and-greet services, and distribute the 2005 Hong Kong WinterFest Activities Guide and Passport to Special Offers at various entry points.

See other recent news regarding: Hong Kong, Christmas

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