Hong Kong Hosts Celebrate New Year

with Martha Chapman

Welcome to the Year of the Monkey!

Kathy Chan (born in the Year of the Snake) with Michael Lim (a Rabbit)

Doug Vogl, Associated Tours (Monkey) with Frankie Yip, Jade Tours (Tiger), Michael Lim and AC’s Rocky Lo (Rooster)

The Monkey King with his Lion foe!

Were you born in 1956, 1968 1980 or 1992? Congrats: this is going to be a great year for you!

That’s because you were born in the year of the Monkey, according to the Chinese calendar, and since we have just started a Year of the Monkey, it should be a great time for all of you.

This was just one cultural tidbit gleaned at an event in Toronto’s hip Distillery District last week as hosts from Hong Kong Tourism and the Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office welcomed some 120 members of the travel industry and business partners to celebrate the new year. Jade Tours, Royal Scenic, Silk Holidays, Goway, Globus and  AC as well as CX were all well-represented.

As well as being entertained by a lively two-man “Lion” battling with a “Monkey King” over a head of lettuce – representing money – we were also treated to a presentation on what’s new and exciting in Hong Kong.

From ever expanding Disneyland to Hong Kong’s 40% green space for hikers and walkers, to 60 Michelin-starred restaurants and cultural festivals (May is “Le French May” in HKG) there’s an enormous array of activities and sightseeing for your clients. All in a space 1/10th the size of Jamaica!

Even with a decline of 2.5% in arrivals last year, the territory welcomed almost 60 million visitors, making it the 2nd most visited destination in Asia after mainland China, according to Michael Lim, the HKTB’s Director for Canada, South & Central America. (Canadian numbers were up slightly by 1.1% to some 350,000.)

There are over 250 hotels in Hong Kong with 20 more slated to be added this year along – so no shortage of beds! Lim recommends the app MyHKGuide to help plan and modify itineraries; and DiscoverHongKong.com which features e-coupons to stretch your clients’ dollars further.

We also learned that Monkey year people are intelligent, witty, inventive, energetic and resourceful. So is the year of the Monkey auspicious for travel agents? HKTB’s Karisa Lui told me it certainly is: “Monkeys are synonymous with activity and motion – which means travel!” 

Kung Hei Fat Choy everyone!

(will not be published)