TORONTO — Chinese New Year is always cause for celebration but even more so this year as Hong Kong welcomed a record number of visitors in 2014 – more than 60.8 million, representing an increase of 12% from the previous year.
Canadian arrivals in 2014 totaled 354,408, up by 0.1% over the previous year.
The figures were released this week in Toronto during a Hong Kong Tourism Board Year of the Sheep Appreciation Reception & Hong Kong Business Overview.
During the event, which featured traditional Chinese New Year culinary dishes prepared by Michelin star chef Lai Wai Hung, the Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board for Canada, Central & South America Michael Lim updated the audience on new attractions and tourism promotions.
Chief among them, a new campaign called ‘My Time For’, highlighting the region’s great variety, authentic experiences and trendy side.
The campaign, which will run throughout the year in print, social and digital media, also showcases nine core experiences including dining, shopping, city icons, festivals and the great outdoors.
Something, said Lim, for every type of tourist.
As well, independent travellers who plan, book and stay connected online when they travel, can take advantage of a new interactive mobile app called ‘My Hong Kong Guide’, to plan their itinerary and get inspiration on what other travellers are doing in Hong Kong.
Lim told the audience 14 new hotels will be added by the end of this year.
Three new museums opened last year including the 3D Museum, Repulse Bay Visual Art Museum and the Trick Eye Museum. Elsewhere, the Hong Kong Observation Wheel at the new central waterfront opened in December and both of Hong Kong’s theme parks have something new too. Shark Mystique at Ocean Park is now the largest shark exhibit in southeast Asia, while Hong Kong Disneyland has a new night parade called Paint the Night.
On the cultural and heritage front, PMQ (Police Married Quarters) has been converted into an art hub for creativity, and The Jao Tsung I Academy, dedicated to the famous Chinese artist, will promote Chinese culture and contain an 89-room heritage lodge.
Another key strategy continues to be multi destination travel. In recognition of the fact that the majority of Canadians who travel to Hong Kong go somewhere else on the same trip too, Lim said that partnerships have been developed with other destinations, including mainland China and Thailand under the theme ‘Two Wonders One Trip’.
Meanwhile in travel trade news, agents can now access a new website (PartnerNet.hktb.com) which connects them with Hong Kong suppliers. A new Hong Kong specialist program for agents was also recently developed and 240 have already graduated.