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DANCES WITH DRAGONS: Hong Kong ushers in New Year, reveals ‘big plans’

The magic of Hong Kong was on display, literally, at an industry gala in Toronto late last week as the city’s tourist board, in conjunction with the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office, celebrated Chinese New Year with food, music, traditional dragon dancers, prizes, and, uniquely, a performance by an actual magician flown in from Hong Kong.

Dozens of members of the trade were wished a hearty “Kung Hei Fat Choy” (happy New Year) to welcome the Year of the Rabbit, and to get the latest updates from the city, which has dropped most COVID protocols and is ramping up its tourism activities again after the pandemic pause.

HKTB Canadian director Michael Lim acknowledged “We’re finally back live in person with this event after three years,” adding, “We are very excited that Hong Kong has reopened to visitors.”

He noted that those travelling to the city will see a new-look Hong Kong upon their return with new experiences and attractions, including an updated Peak Tram, the M+ Museum, Palace Museum and Xiqu Centre, and the new and burgeoning West Kowloon Cultural District, which encompasses 40 hectares and will eventually be home to 17 venues.

Michael Lim, Emily Mo, and magician Louis Yan

New hotels in town include the Fullerton at Ocean Park, the Hari and AKI in Wan chai, the return of the Regent Hong Kong, Hotel 1936 on Prince Edward Road, and WM Hotel in Sai Kung.

He also noted that more restaurants opened during the pandemic than closed.

Visitors can also expect mega-events to return with more than 200 events and happenings already planned in 2023.

Lim revealed that the tourist board has “big plans in the pipeline to welcome back travellers” and will soon launch a global promotional campaign dubbed, “Hello Hong Kong” that is designed to showcase the city’s iconic appeals and new experiences.

“In addition, we’re working closely with the travel trade to develop new and exciting travel packages that include welcome gestures,” he said.

“It’s high time for travellers around the world to experience… Hong Kong again,” concluded Emily Mo, Director of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office. “We all love it, and we all crave it. And expect a lot of surprises!”

First published at Travel Industry Today

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