So last night I watched the first episode of NewsRoom; you know the one where Will McAvoy goes on about America not being the greatest country in the world before concluding it CAN be. And I got really inspired. I started thinking about Hong Kong as a destination and how it might not be the best in the world but it definitely can be. Now, what does Hong Kong need then to become a kick-ass destination?
A bit of background first. Just a few weeks ago, Mainland China released its new tourism law to regulate the industry and give tourists more protection. This will have a huge impact on tourism in Hong Kong since conducted tours subsidized by retail commissions are no longer allowed. Tourist arrivals from Mainland China to Hong Kong will drop but, on the bright side, this creates huge opportunities for the Hong Kong destination to work harder and become better… possibly the best!
Where to start? We need a change of attitude; we can’t be complacent anymore. We have to recognize we are not the best destination in the world and in this process grow a strong collective desire to be the best. And this is possible. Hong Kong has all it takes: people, money, geography, infrastructures, etc.
Then I suggest we have a look at an article I wrote last year, Singapore v Hong Kong, which had quite a few hints on what sort of attractions could go well in Hong Kong: home-grown, nature-based and heritage.
So here is a wish list of attractions that could be developed around town for my tourism and property friends in Hong Kong to consider:
- A private Hong Kong memories museum in Central: a contemporary interpretation of Hong Kong’s heritage and culture
- A cool nature adventure park in Lantau: the latest in ziplines, tree-top courses, bungee jump, etc
- A family-friendly nightly cultural show in Kowloon Park: based on food and heritage themes
- A canto-pop indoor park for young adults in Kowloon Bay: by 4D Live Park with a hologram theatre, music experience (interactive, F&B, etc) and music complex (stage, etc)
- An 8th Estate vinopolis by the ferris wheel at the New Central Harbourfront: a vibrant, interactive space where local residents and tourists can indulge their passion for wine, food, music, art and life
This would add to the list of other cool projects already under development: M+ Museum in West Kowloon Cultural District, Ocean Park’s water park, Iron Man Experience at Hong Kong Disneyland and the ferris wheel at New Central Harbourfront. And for a bit of fun you might even want to have a look at some of the crazy attractions projects that never went through in Hong Kong.
It is time for tourists to Hong Kong to have more choice than Peak Tram, Ocean Park, Disneyland and Madame Tussauds. I mean, Madame Tussauds is one of the city’s top 5 attractions, really!?
When Peter Lam, the new chairman of HKTB, started in May 2013 he said he was in favor of more attractions he thought the destination needed. I hope he likes my ideas. If anyone has more, please send through.
And now over to Peter Lam – our Will McAvoy – to make it happen! Always happy to help of course…