Hong Kong needs new attractions, says tourism chief

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 3:38pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 4:09pm

Hong Kong should look into expanding the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens event and organising a large-scale cycling competition to attract more tourists, the new Tourism Board chairman said.

Peter Lam Kin-ngok, who took up the position last month, said in a Commercial Radio interview on Wednesday morning that the city would have to find new attractions and a cycling competition on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge might be feasible after it opens in 2016.

The board first hoped to organise a smaller-scale cycling event on the Tsing Ma Bridge next year, he said.

“There are a few events, such as the Sevens and the marathon, that inspire me," he said. "These big events can attract a lot of tourists.”

As many tourists could not get hold of tickets for the Sevens after they had arrived in Hong Kong, Lam suggested an event be held in Victoria Park or the open space near the government headquarters in Tamar, where they could watch a live broadcast of the event and enjoy themselves.

He also said the board had predicted the number of mainland visitors over the three-day May Day holiday might drop because of bird flu and the Sichuan earthquake, but it turned out 300,000 to 400,000 more of them visited Hong Kong that last year – an increase of 15 per cent.

Many of the visitors bought gold products because of the drop in the price of gold, he said.

Apart from the mainland, the board was also promoting Hong Kong as a tourist destination in other countries, he said, but the city would have to develop new attractions, other than shopping and dining, to lure people to the city and to stay longer once they got here.