HONG KONG – Following the success of previous “Hong Kong Neighbourhoods” campaigns, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has launched a West Kowloon neighbourhood promotion. The “West Kowloon” neighbourhood programme highlights the district’s rich heritage and vibrant street life in Yau Ma Tei and Jordan along with its two new world-class museums – M+ (opening at the end of year) and the Hong Kong Palace Museum (opening next year) in the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD).
As art is inseparable from our life, the West Kowloon neighbourhood promotion builds a bridge between the local life of the bustling communities of Yau Ma Tei and Jordan, which are home to many historical architectures, time-tested stores, traditional craftsmanship, and the artistic lure of the WKCD. Throughout the continuous evolution and revitalisation, the neighbourhood has plenty of astonishing experiences for people to uncover. The HKTB expects the campaign to draw people from across the city to rediscover it from new perspectives to drive in-depth local tourism and stimulate economic activities in the neighbourhood.
“Experiential tourism is a rising and inspiring trend, particularly where it blends arts and culture with authentic local life. The HKTB has chosen to launch this large-scale promotion before borders reopen because we want residents to savour the experience first and discover hidden gems in their community, rekindling their enthusiasm and appreciation and creating a harmonious art-life aura in the West Kowloon neighbourhood,” said HKTB Executive Director Mr Dane Cheng.
The HKTB believes the West Kowloon neighbourhood programme will not only drive domestic tourism and stimulate consumption, but also spread a positive message and showcase Hong Kong’s new art and cultural travel opportunities to the world and fire up interest in the district among visitors, who are keen to return as soon as borders reopen.– HKTB Executive Director Mr Dane Cheng
Starting from the beautiful shoreline at the West Kowloon Cultural District, the “West Kowloon” neighbourhood programme extends to Yau Ma Tei and Pitt Street, and spans along Nathan Road to reach streets and paths around Austin Road, Jordan.
To reflect the unique characteristics of each area, the HKTB has devised five thematic walking tours focused on Heritage & Craftmanship, Cultural Arts and Culinary Arts. The routes cover many little-known corners of the city that are often overlooked by residents and visitors alike, such as a bookstore hidden in the Tin Hau Temple, a seafood restaurant transformed into an art hotel, and a condiment store promoting western dishes fused with traditional fermented tofu.
The routes offer recommendations for more than 50 points of interest, shops, and restaurants, and are available as an interactive e-map on the West Kowloon neighbourhood campaign page of the HKTB website. Special offers have been arranged with shops and restaurants in the neighbourhood for people who take part in the walks to encourage spending.
Take for example Liu Ma Kee, based in Yau Ma Tei for over a century, which keeps its traditional stonemill artistry to make soybean products with its secret family recipes. Liu Ma Kee now offers an array of present-day condiments, and has even invented a garlic-flavoured fermented tofu paste exclusively for western pasta dishes and a carbonara recipe fused with the classic taste of fermented tofu.
Conveniently situated next to the Yau Ma Tei MTR station, the Tung Nam Lou Art Hotel – described as an urban oasis – opened in 2018. It was previously a traditional seafood restaurant, and is now a hotel with an art gallery and shared space, preserving its nostalgic interior decors. The hotel also hosts workshops and themed exhibitions.
Tin Hau Temple in Yau Ma Tei, along with its adjoining buildings in Shanghai Street, Yau Ma Tei, was declared a monument in 2020. The southern chambers were renovated to become The School, Yau Ma Tei. The chambers are now a self-service bookstore offering a selection of books and cultural goods.The chambers were once a private school, and has transformed into a space with a mini banyan tree and photo spots such as a cart noodle kiosk to recreate scenes outside the Temple down the memory lane.
Cheung Shing Fans Factory is one of the few sandalwood fan makers in Hong Kong still in operation. It is also a producer of incense. Second-generation owner Mr Law and wife returned to Hong Kong to take over the business. Law noted a growing appetite for incense among urban consumers in recent years, and began selling electrical incense burners and incense pots to attract younger customers.
Art is a central theme of the West Kowloon neighbourhood promotion. As well as the M+ and the Hong Kong Palace Museum, the HKTB has teamed up with “FriendsWithYou”, a pop-art duo featuring Samuel Borkson from Florida, US, and Arturo Sandoval III from Cuba, to bring their gigantic art installation and signature pop-art characters to Hong Kong and share the positive vibes to the neighbourhood. The installations will be in the Art Park in the West Kowloon Cultural District from 23rd September to 14th October with free admission, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy international art exhibits and create photo memories.
A variety of areas will be decorated as part of the promotion. The footbridge and subway between the WKCD and Jordan will be transformed into an “Arts Corridor”. Thematic buntings with a programme webpage QR code will meanwhile be displayed around the Yau Ma Tei and Jordan MTR stations and on lampposts along Museum Drive. The HKTB has also made promotional films featuring well-known personalities from the neighbourhood, who will guide viewers along the streets and sidewalks and give their first-hand perspectives to viewers worldwide since they are currently unable to visit in person.
“We hope Hong Kong people will share their experiences with friends and relatives outside Hong Kong,” adds Mr Dane Cheng. “Besides, visitors around the world are eager to travel as soon as travel restrictions are eased, and we will be able to capitalise on the opportunities if we are well prepared in advance. We are also encouraging tour operators to create in-depth tours for Hong Kong residents to help them plan ahead for the return of international visitors.”
For more details about the “Hong Kong Neighbourhoods – West Kowloon” campaign, visit their website