HKTB plays up West Kowloon draws to encourage domestic tourism

Following on earlier successful campaigns to drive domestic tourists to local neighbourhoods, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has launched a new West Kowloon neighbourhood promotion that highlights the district’s rich heritage and thriving arts and culture scene.

Part of HKTB’s Hong Kong Neighbourhoods campaign, the West Kowloon programme will focus visitors’ attention on the vibrant street life in Yau Ma Tei and Jordan as well as two world-class museums – M+ and the Hong Kong Palace Museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) – which will open in the end of 2021 and 2022.

HKTB’s new West Kowloon neighbourhood programme will feature walking tours, numerous photo opportunities and special deals with merchants in the area

HKTB noted that Yau Ma Tei and Jordan are home to many historical architectures, time-tested stores and traditional craftsmanship, while WKCD will provide a new artistic lure. It expects the campaign to draw people from across the city to rediscover the district from new perspectives to drive in-depth local tourism and stimulate economic activities in the neighbourhood.

Five thematic walking routes are offered, focusing on Heritage & Craftmanship, Cultural Arts and Culinary Arts. They take visitors into little-known corners of the city that are often overlooked by residents and visitors alike, such as a bookstore hidden in the Tin Hau Temple, a seafood restaurant transformed into an art hotel, and a condiment store promoting western dishes fused with traditional fermented tofu.

The routes offer recommendations for more than 50 points of interest, shops, and restaurants, and are available as an interactive e-map on the West Kowloon neighbourhood campaign page of the HKTB website. Special offers have been arranged with shops and restaurants in the neighbourhood for people who take part in the walks to encourage spending.

In addition, HKTB has teamed up with FriendsWithYou, a pop-art duo featuring Samuel Borkson from Florida, US, and Arturo Sandoval III from Cuba, to bring their gigantic art installation and signature pop-art characters to the neighbourhood. The installations will be in the Art Park in the West Kowloon Cultural District from September 23 to October 14. Admission is free.

More photo opportunities can be found across the West Kowloon neighbourhood, such as the footbridge and subway between the WKCD and Jordan, which will be transformed into an Arts Corridor.

For those who are unable to visit the district at the moment, HKTB has produced promotional films featuring well-known personalities from the neighbourhood, who guide viewers along the streets and sidewalks and share their first-hand perspectives.

Dane Cheng HKTB executive director, said: “Experiential tourism is a rising and inspiring trend, particularly where it blends arts and culture with authentic local life. The HKTB has chosen to launch this large-scale promotion before borders reopen because we want residents to savour the experience first and discover hidden gems in their community, rekindling their enthusiasm and appreciation and creating a harmonious art-life aura in the West Kowloon neighbourhood.

“We hope Hong Kong people will then share their experiences with friends and relatives outside Hong Kong. Besides, visitors around the world are eager to travel as soon as travel restrictions are eased, and we will be able to capitalise on the opportunities if we are well prepared in advance. We are also encouraging tour operators to create in-depth tours for Hong Kong residents to help them plan ahead for the return of international visitors.

Cheng added that the new West Kowloon neighbourhood programme would also “spread a positive message and showcase Hong Kong’s new art and cultural travel opportunities” to communities worldwide and inspire them to visit Hong Kong once travel is possible again.

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