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HK$60 million scheme to promote creative tourism in old Hong Kong districts of Wan Chai and Sham Shui Po unveiled

  • Hong Kong Design Centre reveals details of three-year scheme which includes projects, public space creations and activities starting from December
PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2018, 9:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 November, 2018, 9:00am

Two old Hong Kong districts – Wan Chai and Sham Shui Po – will be transformed into centres of creative tourism with the government forking out about HK$60 million (US$7.7 million) to give visitors a unique look at local culture through technology and art.

On Wednesday, the Hong Kong Design Centre unveiled the details of a three-year scheme which included a series of projects, public space creations and activities starting from December.

Two pavement artworks are already on show at Stone Nullah Lane and Southorn Playground in Wan Chai.

The Design District Hong Kong project is part of Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s efforts to boost local tourism under plans unveiled in her policy address last month.

Design centre chairman Eric Yim Chi-ming said Hong Kong could not just rely on its reputation as a shopping paradise to attract tourists.

“We hope to use different design activities to help tourists understand that Hong Kong is not just a shopping paradise or a financial centre. Its cultural and creative industries are also flourishing,” he said.

Yim, who said he did not set a target for turnout for the project, hoped to attract high-spending tourists including from overseas, not just mainland Chinese visitors.

Over HK$12 million spent to promote Sham Shui Po to tourists

A highlight is a project by Japanese new media artist Masaki Fujihata, who used augmented reality technology to portray nostalgic scenes of Hong Kong from the 1940 to 1970s at 10 spots in Wan Chai.

Fujihata referenced old photos and talked to elderly residents in the area and developed an mobile application to depict Hong Kong after the second world war.

Streets scenes including food stalls and barbers will be displayed on the app user’s smartphone, allowing the person to take pictures and move around the 3D figures shown.

Fujihata said he wanted to create a platform to connect the past and the present, opening up space and time for people to share and discuss stories.

“I do not want to tell history. Usually governors made history. But each individual person has his or her own story. I really want to focus on the individuals,” he said.

In Sham Shui Po, a fashion parade and related events will be launched on December 1.

In a separate move, the Hong Kong Tourism Board in September splashed out more than HK$12 million on a series of improvements and marketing activities to promote Sham Shui Po as a destination for visitors looking for a unique local experience.

Tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said the board was not clear on the details of the new creative project which was presented by the Tourism Commission. He said the two tourism bodies should work together to promote Sham Shui Po. But he believed with more tourism elements in the same district, it would offer a better choice for travellers.

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Separately, the board launched virtual reality interactive microfilms with Sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck and VR experience design house Time Looper, recreating panoramic scenes of classic Hong Kong scenes.

Among them are Hollywood Road filled with rickshaw pullers in the 1960s as well as neighbourhoods around Kai Tak Airport in the 1980s.