Asia's cultural kaleidoscope

Hong Kong ... A perennial tourist attraction.

A land as fast-paced as its adaptation to global trends; colourful people and tradition that goes back centuries.

"Hong Kong is indeed well-known for its colourful culture, and we have found that today's travellers want to experience it for themselves rather than simply observing it from the window of a tour bus," says Sue Whitehead of the Hong Kong Tourism Authority. And hence the newly re-launched 'Cultural Kaleidoscope' programme designed to help visitors get to the soul of Hong Kong.

"The Cultural Kaleidoscope programme," says Sue, "allows visitors to try their hands at different elements of Hong Kong's living Chinese culture - such as tai chi, feng shui or kung fu - completely free of charge by way of face-to-face sessions with local experts."

Other Cultural Kaleidoscope programmes include Chinese tea appreciation, pearl grading and cruises on Hong Kong harbour in the traditional sailing junk, Duk Ling.

From January 2002 up until the end of September, Hong Kong's visitors from the Middle East region grew 6.1 per cent to 61,181 visitors. Worldwide, the first nine months of 2002 have seen visitor growth of 16 per cent and - if present trends continue - 2002 is on course to beat the 15-million visitor barrier, to give Hong Kong its third record-breaking year in a row, says Sue.

But what is it about Hong Kong that has made it a 'perennial' tourist destination? "Hong Kong remains one of the most vibrant and exciting destinations in the world, and is a "must see" element in any Far East holiday," says Sue. "But we are not resting on our laurels. We have recently announced a number of new product infrastructure developments for the next few years."