The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) on September 9, officially launched a West Kowloon neighbourhood promotion, after featuring popular promotions ‘Old Town Central’ and ‘Sham Shui Po – Every Bit Local’ in the ‘Hong Kong Neighbourhoods’ campaign. The ‘West Kowloon’ neighbourhood programme highlighting the district’s rich heritage and vibrant street life in Yau Ma Tei and Jordan along with its two new world-class museums – M+ and the Hong Kong Palace Museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) – which will open at the end of the year and next and become landmarks in art and cultural tourism. As art is inseparable from our life, the West Kowloon neighbourhood promotion builds a bridge between the local life of the bustling communities of Yau Ma Tei and Jordan, which are home to many historical architectures, time-tested stores and traditional craftsmanship, and the artistic lure of the WKCD. Throughout the continuous evolution and revitalisation, the neighbourhood has a lot of astonishing experiences for the public and visitors to uncover. The HKTB expects the campaign to draw people from across the city to rediscover it from new perspectives to drive in-depth local tourism and stimulate economic activities in the neighbourhood.
HKTB Executive Director, Dane Cheng said, “Experiential tourism is a rising and inspiring trend, particularly where it blends arts and culture with authentic local life. The HKTB has chosen to launch this large-scale promotion before borders reopen because we want residents to savour the experience first and discover hidden gems in their community, rekindling their enthusiasm and appreciation and creating a harmonious art-life aura in the West Kowloon neighbourhood. We hope Hong Kong people will then share their experiences with friends and relatives outside Hong Kong. Besides, visitors around the world are eager to travel as soon as travel restrictions are eased, and we will be able to capitalise on the opportunities if we are well prepared in advance. We are also encouraging tour operators to create in-depth tours for Hong Kong residents to help them plan ahead for the return of international visitors.
“The HKTB believes the West Kowloon neighbourhood programme will not only drive domestic tourism and stimulate consumption, but also spread a positive message and showcase Hong Kong’s new art and cultural travel opportunities to the world and fire up interest in the district among visitors, who are keen to return as soon as borders reopen.”
Five walking routes to uncover a rich heritage
Starting from the beautiful shoreline at the West Kowloon Cultural District, the ‘West Kowloon’ neighbourhood programme extends to Yau Ma Tei and Pitt Street, and spans along Nathan Road to reach streets and paths around Austin Road, Jordan.
To reflect the unique characteristics of each area, the HKTB has devised five thematic walking tours focused on Heritage & Craftmanship, Cultural Arts and Culinary Arts. The routes cover many little-known corners of the city that are often overlooked by residents and visitors alike, such as a bookstore hidden in the Tin Hau Temple, a seafood restaurant transformed into an art hotel, and a condiment store promoting western dishes fused with traditional fermented tofu.
The routes offer recommendations for more than 50 points of interest, shops, and restaurants, and are available as an interactive e-map on the West Kowloon neighbourhood campaign page of the HKTB website. Special offers have been arranged with shops and restaurants in the neighbourhood for people who take part in the walks to encourage spending.
Photo spot with spectacular large-scale art installations
Art is a central theme of the West Kowloon neighbourhood promotion. As well as the M+ and the Hong Kong Palace Museum, the HKTB has teamed up with ‘FriendsWithYou’, a pop-art duo featuring Samuel Borkson from Florida, US, and Arturo Sandoval III from Cuba, to bring their gigantic art installation and signature pop-art characters to Hong Kong and share the positive vibes to the neighbourhood. The installations will be in the Art Park in the West Kowloon Cultural District from September 23 to October 14, with free admission, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy international art exhibits and create photo memories.
A variety of areas will be decorated as part of the promotion. The footbridge and subway between the WKCD and Jordan will be transformed into an ‘Arts Corridor’. Thematic buntings with a programme webpage QR code will meanwhile be displayed around the Yau Ma Tei and Jordan MTR stations and on lampposts along Museum Drive. The HKTB has also made promotional films featuring well-known personalities from the neighbourhood, who guide viewers along the streets and sidewalks and give their first-hand perspectives to viewers worldwide who are currently unable to visit in person.