Wine, dine and play

The night is young again in Hong Kong, as both public and private sector organisations come together to present numerous reasons for residents and visitors to stay out late and rediscover the city’s playful side.

Determined to bring back the shine to Hong Kong’s night-time economy, the government launched the Night Vibes Hong Kong campaign in September 2023 to inspire different sectors of the community to create events that entice residents and visitors to head out for fun after sunset.

In support of this goal, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) curated its own set of night-life programmes. From November 2023 to March 31, 2024, visitors can pick up Hong Kong Night Treats dining vouchers to be used at participating bars and Quality Tourism Service Scheme-recognised restaurants. Some one million vouchers, each worth HK$100 (US$12.70) each, have been distributed so far.

The Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival is Hong Kong Tourism Board’s annual celebration of epicurean delights, and at night visitors can enjoy musical performances

HKTB’s Hong Kong Night Bus Tour, which ended its run in January 2024, gave  visitors a discounted ride on three designated routes that showed off the destination’s famous attractions and landmarks at night.

This effort continues into the new year, and will see Hong Kong’s Home and Youth Affairs Bureau collaborating with district offices and councils on activities in 1H2024 that highlight regional characteristics and traditional local culture. A resulting project is the Day x Night Vibes @18 Districts initiative, announced on January 9.

Chief secretary for administration Eric Chan Kwok-ki explained that Day x Night Vibes @18 Districts initiative would comprise carnivals, art exhibitions, music performances, and sports experiences for “everyone, whether they are with family or friends”. Activities will be scheduled until May 2024.

Private sector players are also putting their back into reviving Hong Kong’s night scene.

Nina Hospitality has come up with new F&B offerings to be enjoyed as night falls. Guests of Lodgewood Mongkok Hotel are welcome to a canton pot dinner that features fresh local ingredients. At Nina Hotel Causeway Bay’s Ah Yung Kitchen, a pairing menu has been created in partnership with Martell.

Nina Hospitality’s managing director, Simon Manning, said: “Night Vibes Hong Kong helps to differentiate Hong Kong from other destinations and encourages more visitors to choose our city as their travel destination.

“The night events and activities showcase the rich culture and diversity of Hong Kong, giving tourists a deeper understanding and appreciation of our city. This can lead to longer stays and repeat visits, which ultimately boosts the tourism industry and benefits businesses like Nina Hospitality.”

Luc Bollen, general manager of The Park Lane Hong Kong, a Pullman Hotel, is also appreciative of the Night Vibes Hong Kong campaign, saying it has greatly benefitted both inbound tourism and his hotel.

Occupancy at his hotel in 4Q2023 was over 90 per cent.

He said: “Highlighting Hong Kong’s vibrant cultural offerings after dark attracts the growing market of travellers seeking authentic experiences.”

HKTB data shows an encouraging return of international visitors. Between January and November 2023, the destination recorded a 6,672 per cent growth in arrivals over the same period in 2022. Visitor arrivals from mainland China alone reached 23 million.

Bollen said: “A lot of the rebound needs to be attributed to the efforts of the HKTB.”

“We expect to see increased bookings as events bring international guests back to the city. We hope that more high-calibre events can return to Hong Kong,” he remarked.

The Park Lane Hong Kong, a Pullman Hotel will host its own line-up, such as CSR parties and a 50th anniversary finale party in 4Q2024 that will highlight the hotel’s signature offerings.

On the calendar so far are the Timeless Flavours cocktail series at Skye Rooftop Bar & Dining, two special dinners hosted by Michelin-star chef Thierry Drapeau, and more.

While much is being done to enliven Hong Kong’s night scene, Gunther Homerlein, general manager/owner of Destination China, said it was also crucial that travellers in the longhaul markets were aware of the initiatives.

Homerlein told TTG Asia: “Any initiative that shows a positive event and creates good press is needed at this point. But if you asked the average travel agent in the UK, for instance, he has no idea (of the night-time campaign and programmes).

“The first thing we must do is dispel misinformation about Hong Kong and promote the city’s easy accessibility.”

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