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Musical Fireworks Contest in Hong Kong concludes with a Bang

Travel News Asia 12 October 2003

The Hong Kong International Musical Fireworks Competition came to a resounding and spectacular conclusion in Victoria Harbour earlier this evening as teams from Japan and the United States competed against last week's highly acclaimed performances from Hong Kong and Italy in front of 450,000 spectators. After much deliberation the 10-strong judging panel, made up of representatives of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), Government departments and design and fireworks experts, gave the winning trophy to Team Italy.

This was the third mega event organised by the HKTB as part of its global tourism revival campaign. HKTB Chairman The Hon Mrs Selina Chow told invited guests at the HKCEC that the competition reinforced Hong Kong's international image and showcased its ability to stage world class events. 

"Like all our programmes of mega-events, the International Musical Fireworks Competition is intended to enhance visitors' experiences, encourage them to stay longer, and attract international publicity for Hong Kong as a diverse and exciting destination, so that the pace of tourism recovery can be maintained," she said.

"Thousands of visitors have come here from the Mainland, Taiwan, Singapore and Japan on special fireworks packages, and we had some strongly positive feedback from those who watched last week's displays. Their excitement was shared by another 114 million people across the region through live TV coverage - and tonight two major Japanese stations are also taking the live feed, raising the audience to 126 million.

"To create further publicity and coverage of the competition, we have media from 10 markets - Mainland China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, Germany and Canada - covering tonight's displays. At a local level, over 300,000 residents and visitors watched last week's show from the harbourfront and the local media coverage was worth over HK$8 million," Mrs Chow noted.

Mrs Chow also announced that the tourism revival campaign had reached another milestone. "Provisional figures for September show visitor arrivals reached over 1.47 million - the best ever September figure. That represents nearly eight per cent increase on the same month in 2002 and follows similarly strong figures for August. While the recovery is not yet complete across all markets, the trend is very encouraging for all the many business sectors in Hong Kong that benefit from visitor spending," said Mrs Chow.

In tonight's competition, the team from Japan transformed the night sky into a romantic canvas of the four seasons, while the United States utilised the latest technology to create the Art of Fireworks' Digital Choreography. In the first round of the competition last week, Hong Kong showcased its unique fusion of Eastern and Western cultures, while the Italian team took on the drama of the opera.

On both days of the fireworks competition, Harbour City sponsored 7,500 VIP tickets for visitors to enjoy a grandstand view of the competition from the roof of Ocean Terminal. In addition to the many other special October offers provided by local merchants, restaurants and leading dining districts such as Lan Kwai Fong, The Peak, Knutsford Terrace and Hillwood Soho developed special menus and packages around the four themes of the competition.

Those restaurants that laid on special fireworks menus and promotions all reported exceptional bookings on 5 October. As a result of the enthusiastic response, the number of restaurants offering special fireworks menus has doubled to 60 for tonight's second round. Together, they presented a range of attractive offers designed to entice visitors to extend their stay and spending.

"This event does more than just add colour and excitement to the skies of Hong Kong. It provides a valuable platform on which both our local and international trade partners can develop new business," Mrs Chow explained.

Other mega-events coming on stream include Hong Kong WinterFest from November to early January and the International Chinese New Year Night Parade early next year. Another major programme is the pre-launch of Avenue of Stars in March 2004 to cater for visitors' interest in Hong Kong movies.

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