Michael Lim, (centre) poses with representatives of tour operator partners.
Lim assists Chef Susur Lee in the preparation of a Chinese New Year specialty dish.
Karisa Lui, HKTB Assistant Manager, Marketing, looks on as Lee finishes off his creation.
Renowned chef Susur Lee’s Luckee dim sum restaurant in Toronto’s Soho Metropolitan Hotel was the perfect setting for a celebration of the Chinese New Year hosted by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.
Lee’s delicate and delicious bite-sized portions had guests groaning in pleasure as HKTB Director Canada, South & Central Americas Michael Lim gave an update on Canadian tourism to “Asia’s World City,” a bite-sized destination that may offer the most excitement per square kilometer of any place on the planet.
Lim noted that 370,000 Canadians visited Hong Kong last year, the vast majority including the autonomous territory of southeastern China as part of broader Asian travels. But it was clear from Lim’s presentation that there’s plenty to do in HK for a standalone visit too.
The tourism director cited five areas of focus in its bid to entice Canadian travellers:
Local Culture: Through initiatives like themed walking routes and promoting specific neighbourhoods, the HKTB encourages Canadian visitors to explore beyond the obvious attractions and taste a distinct and vibrant culture.
Dining: Hong Kong is a food lover’s dream come true. There are 14,000 restaurants to choose from, with choices ranging from street stalls to Michelin-starred venues.
Attractions: For fantastic views of Hong Kong, the Star Ferry is a favourite, featuring the skyline and the busy harbour. The Peak tram carries visitors to HK’s highest point, where they are rewarded with out-of-this-world views of the skyline, the harbour and the green hills of the distant New Territories.
Chinese Festivals: Despite being mostly based on religion and faith, Hong Kong festivals are anything but solemn. Dances, drumming, colours, costumes and incense are all essential elements and visitors are always welcome. Chinese New Year is the big one, but there are plenty of others, including the Spring Lantern Festival and the Hungry Ghost Festival.
The Great Outdoors: Yes, you read that right. While Hong Kong’s urban centre is one of the most densely populated places in the world, 70% of the territory is green space. That means ample opportunity for hiking, cycling and other outdoor pursuits.
In a highly competitive market, Hong Kong’s hotels try to outdo each other in quality, and more are being built as tourism continues to burgeon. There are currently about 273 hotels totaling 78,000 rooms, but there are 30 new properties underway, which will add another 5,000 rooms.
“Canadian visitors will enjoy a warm welcome and a wide range of exciting things to see and do as they explore Hong Kong,” Lim told Open Jaw. “And our tour operator partners make it easy and affordable.”
Bruce Parkinson Editor-in-Chief
An observer and analyst of the Canadian and international travel industries for over 25 years, Bruce uses the pre-dawn hours to prepare a daily news and information package to keep industry members up to date.