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Hong Kong Budget Unveils HK$ 1.09 billion to Boost Tourism, Reinventing the City's Brand Image

Financial Secretary Mr. Paul Chan released the budget proposal today. Photo source: Sing Tao Daily.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said he would allocate an additional HK$1.09 billion to support the tourism industry, including monthly fireworks displays and drone performances on Victoria Harbour, revitalising the nightly harbour light show and promoting immersive and in-depth experiences such as "Citywalk." 

The plan aims to effectively use the city's waterfront resources and enhance local tourism activities to attract visitors and improve Hong Kong's economy while reshaping its brand image.

The Tourism Board also intends to introduce dining, retail and entertainment facilities in suitable locations along the Victoria Harbour waterfront to provide convenience and enhance the visitor experience, Chan said.

“We want to promote Hong Kong as a hospitable, people-focused city,” Chan said in the budget address.

The government is also launching initiatives such as the Sai Kung Hoi Art Festival to "soft sell" Hong Kong. 

However, Tang Wing Tung, 20, a university student and hiking enthusiast, said, "As a hiking enthusiast, these projects already have some level of promotion within Hong Kong itself. I believe the government's so-called 'soft sell' approach will have little impact," she said.

The budget highlights initiatives to promote arts, culture, and creative industries to boost tourism, including an East-meets-West Centre for International Cultural Exchange and introducing a blueprint for developing arts, culture, fashion and creative industries.

Funding injections of around HK$1.4 billion and HK$2.9 billion will support film, arts and design projects, including the annual Hong Kong Fashion Design Week.

Local vocational college VTC  held a fashion show in West Kowloon in October 2023, though Christian Dior postponed its highly anticipated March fashion show on Feb 26. 

The government has also launched the Signature Performing Arts Programme Scheme to establish long-running, representative local performing arts programs. They aim to host significant arts events such as the Hong Kong Performing Arts Expo and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Culture and Arts Festival, showcasing top-notch productions and attracting artists and visitors.

Fashion show held by VTC in West Kowloon in October 2023. 

Cao Kailuo, 22, a mainland university student visiting Hong Kong as a tourist, said he was mostly interested in arts and culture in Hong Kong. He fondly recalled the vibrant atmosphere of the Temple Street Night Market, which was extensively promoted in December last year after a renovation and successfully attracted many tourists. 

Cao said if Hong Kong continues to organise similar cultural and creative events, it will undoubtedly positively impact the tourism industry.

Countdown fireworks display on New Year's Eve in Hong Kong.

Legislative Council member, Yeung Wing-kin, from the Kowloon Central (A4) Alliance, said at a public forum yesterday that the updated version of the 20-year-old A Symphony of Lights show, featuring monthly fireworks and drone performances, is attractive. However, he said the government should promote these new elements earlier to allow tourists to plan their trips to Hong Kong.

"Tourists are unaware of these events in Hong Kong, and they may not consider including Hong Kong in their itineraries. For example, Art March was only announced at the end of February, even though it takes place in March. Shouldn't it be announced in January for events happening in March?" Yeung said at the forum.

Dr. Cheng Peiran, a 48-year-old emergency physician at Yunnan Boya Hospital in mainland China, said he was concerned about the harm caused by regular fireworks, especially on older people. Inhalation of sulphur dioxide from fireworks can cause swelling of the throat and lead to lung inflammation in sensitive individuals. He emphasised the importance of considering public health interests rather than focusing solely on attracting tourists.


《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.


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