Mega sale to bring alive 'City of Life'

Hong Kong ... centrepiece of a Far East vacation.

A mega-sale and a street carnival are just two of the attractions on the menu this year for visitors to Hong Kong.

The events are being held as part of the ongoing "City of Life: Hong Kong is it!" programme which continues until early next year.

The attractions offered visitors under the City of Life programme will be showcased at this month's Arabian Travel Market by the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

"Our participation at ATM is an opportunity for us to meet new contacts and reinforce our relationships with old friends and colleagues in the Middle East region," said the board's representative in London, Sue Whitehead.

"It is a very effective way for us to meet a lot of trade contacts in a short space of time as well as getting on the ground feedback on the market situation and prospects."

Whitehead said that although Hong Kong ended 2001 with an 8 per cent decline in Middle East tourist arrivals due to the effects of the September 11 attacks in the US, the board remained confident of long-term future of tourism from the region.

"Different markets within the Middle East performed differently, and - in fact - the United Arab Emirates managed a growth of 1.1 per cent over 2000," she said.

"Indeed, on a global basis (taking into account arrivals into Hong Kong from the world as a whole), Hong Kong once again achieved a record-breaking performance last year ... with over 13.7 million visitor arrivals for the first time ever."

She said that with the exception of last year, Hong Kong had seen strong and consistent growth from the Middle East for a number of years.

"We are confident that both the Far East and Hong Kong will benefit as Middle East travellers look for new and exciting travel experiences," said Whitehead.

"Tourism needs stability and consumer confidence to thrive, and we hope that 2002 is a year of peace and growth after the terrible events of last September in the US."

She said the first Mega Hong Kong Sale from June 15 to August 31, which builds on the traditional Hong Kong summer sales, will provide visitors greater discounts and offers, plus lucky draws, themed shopping events and promotions and host of other "little delights".

"And in December, Hong Kong's open spaces will be the venue for non-stop action as the City of Life Street Carnival offers a feast of local and international performers, from jazz to rock, from samba to Cantopop," she said.

The Hong Kong Disneyland also remained on course to open in 2005, further adding to the territory's appeal.

"Hong Kong is the perfect centrepiece to any Far East vacation and is usually combined with other Asian travel experiences, such as a beach stay in Malaysia or Thailand, or a cultural tour of Mainland China. It is also the perfect stopover en route to Australia or New Zealand," said Whitehead.

"Hong Kong remains one of the most glamorous and exciting destinations in the world ... the Manhattan of the East!

"With world class shopping, dining and nightlife and a unique mix of ancient Chinese traditions and contemporary western sophistication, Hong Kong is truly the 'City of Life'."