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Tourism

Hong Kong’s Avenue of Stars to reopen in January with host of new attractions – and five new famous handprints

  • Popular tourist attraction showcasing Hong Kong’s film culture has been closed for renovation for more than three years
  • Much loved statues will no longer be behind barriers, making it more convenient to take the perfect selfie
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 2:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 11:15pm

A popular tourist attraction showcasing Hong Kong’s film culture is to reopen at the end of January after more than three years of renovation.

The Avenue of Stars on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront will also feature new technology and selfie-friendly displays, property developer New World Development – which manages the attraction – revealed at a Harbourfront Commission meeting on Tuesday.

The handprints of 107 movie stars, which were previously on the pavement, will now be mounted on handrails along the harbourfront, so fans can also capture the city skyline in the background of their photos.

Fiona Wan Zee-ngan, general manager of public affairs at the firm, also revealed that five more famous figures would add their handprints soon after the relaunch – but did not reveal names.

The much loved statues of Bruce Lee, late local diva Anita Mui Yim-fong, cartoon character McDull and the Goddess of the Hong Kong Film Awards Association will no longer be behind barriers; they will be surrounded by water to echo the harbour-side ambience and make it more convenient to take photos.

But Wan said the avenue would not open to the public for street performances in the first six months after the relaunch and authorities would monitor the operation situation before reviewing the arrangement.

Tsim Sha Tsui harbourfront has become a new home for informal entertainers evicted from an iconic pedestrian zone in Mong Kok after the government shut it down in August. The move left some regular buskers at the site upset.

Yeung added they would urge the groups of informal entertainers not to come to the avenue.

Modelled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the waterfront boulevard was a popular attraction on the Kowloon shore of Victoria Harbour from its opening in 2004.

The area, which has been closed since October 2015 for repair and improvement works, was expected to reopen to the public in the third quarter of 2018.

But the government pushed the deadline for reopening back to February 2019 at the latest because more work was required.

Controversial renovation work on Avenue of Stars was approved illegally, according to legal challenge

At the meeting on Tuesday, members voiced approval of the new plans but were concerned about crowd management and traffic jams in one of Hong Kong’s busiest neighbourhoods.

Wan said the firm planned to set up a notification mechanism for passenger flow, as well as queuing and parking management with officials and the tourism industry.

She said the government would also increase the number of parking slots for coaches in the medium term.

“From our observations in the past, the reason Salisbury Road, which is near the Avenue of Stars, was jammed was due to a lot of coaches parking there illegally,” she said.

“According to our understanding, police officers will step up law enforcement, so coaches must leave soon after dropping off their passengers.”

Ready for its close-up, Avenue of Stars to get HK$100m facelift

During big festivals, such as the Lunar New Year fireworks, the management of the area would be passed to police.

After the relaunch, the avenue will also feature new technological elements and tours to allow visitors learn more about local movies.

Scanning QR codes provided near the displays will allow visitors to read details about the stars and watch related movie clips on their phones. For those who want to wander further into the film world, they can join tours organised by a local community group.

They will highlight the filming locations of popular productions such as the nearby Chungking Mansions, featured in Chungking Express, a movie by internationally renowned Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai.