The Tourism Board initially floated the idea of covering the entire clock tower in Tsim Sha Tsui with a gigantic shopping bag, but the proposal was rejected by the Antiquities and Monuments Office, the office's executive secretary said yesterday. Louis Ng Chi-wa told the South China Morning Post that the original idea, proposed several months ago, was rejected as it would be inappropriate to cover the whole monument. 'We were worried that [the clock tower would be damaged] ... we wanted to keep it well protected,' he said. The plan now is for the bag to cover about half of the 45-metre tower, but not to touch it. The bag will be in place during this year's Hong Kong Shopping Festival from June 26 to August 31. 'We finally accepted [the plan] because the Tourism Board explained it would be the focus of their festival's activities, and we thought tourism would benefit our economy,' Mr Ng said. He said it was a highly subjective question as to whether the project showed disrespect for history. 'It is not in the tradition of the office to do this. But we thought it was worth trying.' Conservation and arts groups have called the plan an insult to the heritage site. While the board said the design would create a festive atmosphere and photo opportunities, tourists along the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade yesterday expressed mixed reactions. Standing in front of the tower, French tourist Dioc Albert said it was a stupid and shocking idea. 'With the shopping bag, it just looks very strange,' he said. 'I would not take any pictures there.' Australian housewife Julie Bernau said the idea showed disrespect for history. 'I don't like it. The government is turning a heritage site to its service. I won't take pictures there.' But Ebrahimu Seedat, from Randburg, South Africa, welcomed the concept, saying it was a proper marketing initiative. 'It relates to Hong Kong as a shopping paradise and a former British colony. It's a good mix of old and new.'