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HK sees surge in visitors during three-day holiday

By Li Xiaoyun in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2024-06-12 09:27
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Hong Kong's efforts to host large-scale cultural and sports events helped attract more than 400,000 visitors from around the world to experience a blend of tradition and modernity during the Dragon Boat Festival holiday.

Over the three-day break that began on Saturday, the city recorded over 412,800 visitors — an 11 percent jump from the same period last year. Tourists from the Chinese mainland accounted for over 330,000, up nearly 10 percent year-on-year and almost 40 percent more than during the first three days of the Easter holiday in March.

During the Dragon Boat Festival holiday, the city hosted a slew of mega events that embodied Hong Kong's unique cultural flair, including the world's biggest water music festival, dragon boat races across multiple districts and drone performances with a festival theme.

They increased Hong Kong's appeal to visitors, said Roy Lo Kaipong, chairman of the Hong Kong Travel Profession Union.

A 10-minute drone performance took to the skies above the harbor front in Wan Chai on Monday evening. Around 1,000 drones formed patterns such as flying dragons, dragon boats and zongzi — a traditional rice dumpling wrapped in bamboo leaves.

Mainland visitor Fang Jiarui arrived at the harbor front an hour early to secure a prime viewing spot.

"The display was great, as it blended centuries-old cultural elements with cutting-edge technology," she said.

Fang, who spent the holiday exploring Hong Kong, said she was impressed by the city's ability to marry traditional culture with modernity and innovation.

"From the food and accommodation to transport, Hong Kong has its own way of combining the old and the new," she said.

Her itinerary was mainly based on social media recommendations.

Lo said there are millions of posts about traveling in Hong Kong on Xiaohongshu, an Instagram-like mainland social media platform, stimulating the interest of potential visitors.

"Since the Hong Kong government proposed leveraging mega events to attract tourists last year, my travel agency has seen about a 20 percent uptick in inquiries," he said.

Lo urged the government to release details of the events two or three months in advance to allow his peers enough time to design itineraries.

The dragon boat races in some Hong Kong districts were another attraction, with the largest competition taking place in Stanley, in the city's southern district. More than 150 teams, comprising 5,000 local and international paddlers, took part in the races.

The races displayed Hong Kong's folk culture among fishermen, making them unique and attractive for tourists, said Timothy Chui Ting-pong, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Association.

The city will host the nearly 50-year-old Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Races at the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade on Saturday and Sunday. More than 170 teams from 12 countries and regions are set to compete.

Chui said hotels in Hong Kong could consider providing shuttle services to enhance the experience for spectators.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu unveiled a series of initiatives to benefit both residents and visitors during the July 1 holiday that will celebrate the 27th anniversary of the city's return to the motherland.

Among the highlights, popular museums will offer free admission on July 1, and over 1,000 restaurants across the city will roll out various dining discounts. From June 29 to July 1, the Ocean Park theme park will slash ticket prices by up to 30 percent.




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