New Christmas 'trees' taking root in city

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 November, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 November, 2010, 12:00am

Hong Kong will celebrate Christmas this year with two huge outdoor decorations that are being dubbed 'trees' but which look nothing like the real thing.

One, in Statue Square, will be a 30-metre pyramid made up of Swarovski crystal blocks.

The other, at Harbour City, features more than 50 giant champagne glasses in a 12-metre structure decked out with lights, a huge cake and moving mechanical figures.

Swarovski spokeswoman Lucia Chan said the Statue Square pyramid was designed to blend in with the skyscrapers in Central.

Harbour City said it opted for champagne glasses instead of a traditional tree because it was time for a celebration.

'This is a happy year and there has not been a lot of negative news, so we want to celebrate,' a spokesman said. 'We have been using traditional Christmas trees for some years already and want to be special this time.'

Asked what it thought of the 'trees', the tourism board, which is spending tens of millions of dollars on a winter promotion, said it was not concerned whether the structures were traditional designs. Swarovski and Harbour City were in charge of the design, it said.

The city's two theme parks will also have special Christmas events this year. Disneyland will have an American Christmas, while Ocean Park will have a new ride and staff dressed as Christmas trees singing carols to visitors.

Fake snow will fall at the Lantau cable car, and actors dressed as Christmas characters will greet visitors to Madame Tussauds on The Peak. A film featuring cartoon characters of local stars Sandra Ng Kwun-yu and Louis Koo Tin-lok will be used to promote Hong Kong overseas.

The tourism board is spending HK$24 million this winter to promote tourism in Hong Kong, 20 per cent more than last year. The board will spend 80 per cent of this on the tourism market on the mainland and neighbouring countries.

By last Saturday, more than 30 million people had visited Hong Kong this year, official figures show. Tourism board chairman James Tien Pei-chun said this was a record, and expected visitors to total 35 million by the end of the year.