One year after being abandoned by sponsors of the city’s major New Year’s fireworks display, tourism officials have found a co-sponsor for this year’s countdown show.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board signed a deal on Thursday with New World Development to help fund the fireworks on December 31.
“We want to assure people that this event will go on this year,” said Tourism Board chairman James Tien Pei-chun. This year’s fireworks will cost HK$12 million and last for eight minutes – the largest display in the history of the event, he said.
The board will provide up to HK$6 million for this year’s event, said general manager Cynthia Leung. New World will shoulder most of the remaining costs.
The board was still searching for other sponsors, and does not foresee using any more taxpayers’ money on the event, Leung said.
Last year Henderson Land and Sun Hung Kai Properties pulled their sponsorship in October, leaving the Tourism Board scrambling to find funding.
In the end, the government and the Jockey Club had to chip in HK$1.5 million each, on top of the Tourism Board’s HK$5.5 million.
The two property giants did not say why they dropped their sponsorship after four years of underwriting the event, except to say it was a business decision. They were continuing to support the fireworks by providing the venue – the 88-storey Two IFC – they said.
This year the display will move to Wan Chai, launching fireworks from land and sea with the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre as the focal point.
The Tourism Board will provide coverage of the celebrations to major international TV stations, to showcase Victoria Harbour to the world.
It cites the following good vantage points for viewing the show: the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Piazza and nearby promenade to the Avenue of Stars, the promenade at Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai and the area near Central Pier.