City's concert venues 'too small' for Madonna
Amy Nip and Joanna Chiu
Madonna turned down offers to hold a concert in the city as the venues here are too small for her, entertainment mogul Peter Lam Kin-ngok said yesterday.
Lam tried several times to get the superstar to Hong Kong, only to be told that the city's concert venues did not meet her expectations, revealed the new Tourism Board chairman yesterday.
Japan was the only Asian country Madonna visited during her 2006 Confessions tour. The tour, which covered North America, Europe and Japan, grossed about US$194 million from 60 shows that drew nearly 1.2 million people.
Lam's comment echoed entertainment veterans' laments - that the city lacked world-class venues to host concerts and tournaments. The Coliseum was always fully booked, while the Hong Kong Stadium stopped hosting concerts after Happy Valley residents complained about the noise.
Lam said on his agenda for discussion with the government when he takes office this month is how to make it easier to organise mega events here to attract high-spending tourists.
"The Rugby Sevens is a good example," he said. Not only did the matches bring in a large number of tourists, the event also sparked a growing interest in the sport among locals.
But there were also problems to be resolved, such as a shortage of tickets and high hotel room rates during the event, he said.
Promoting cruise and long-haul tourism would be two other challenges.
In June, he would head to the United States with delegates from different bodies to promote trade and tourism. It was understood that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying was considering joining the tour while Jackie Chan was already on the guest list.
The kung fu star and mainland actress Zhang Lanxin won the best director and best new artist awards for his latest action thriller CZ12, which also won the best action choreographer award. The best film award went to crime thriller Cold War.