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2004 HK Shopping Festival Enjoys Great Success

Festival turns summer into peak travel season and
stimulates at least HK$1.5 billion of spending

Spending of at least HK$1.5 billion has been generated by the two-month long 2004 Hong Kong Shopping Festival, which came to a successful conclusion at the end of August, organisers the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) said last September 2. During the Festival period, visitor arrivals increased by more than 40% over the same period in 2002 when the Board staged a similar event, turning the summer into another peak travel season.

Photo of Hong Kong Jewelry Shoppers

Performing the lucky draw ceremony for the Festival, HKTB Chairman The Hon Mrs Selina Chow, GBS, OBE, JP said that the Festival had become an annual signature event for the travel, retail and catering industries, and for local residents as well as global travellers. Besides luring visitors and stimulating their spending, the Festival showcased the core strengths of Hong Kong, including its diverse and sophisticated range of shopping, dining and entertainment, further enhancing the city's image as an international destination.

Provisional figures show that arrivals during the Festival from 26 June to the end of August reached 4.34 million, markedly more than the Board's original target of 3.70 million and over 40% ahead of the 3.08 million arrivals achieved during a similar event in 2002.

Traditionally, July and August fall outside the main peak season as there are relatively fewer business activities. At the same time, there is no long public holiday period such as the Golden Week in major source markets of Hong Kong. The record arrivals during the Festival have therefore changed this trend and turned the summer into another peak travel season. With such encouraging results, the HKTB is confident of exceeding its target of 20.5 million arrivals for 2004.

Mrs Chow said that the Festival had helped create a citywide spending atmosphere and aroused enthusiastic participation among visitors and local residents. "The local merchants have been very active in leveraging on the business platform offered by the Festival, demonstrating its effectiveness in promoting the tourism industry and the wider economy," she said.

This year, more than 6,500 merchants participated in the Festival, almost three times the number for a similar event two years ago. Many merchants took the initiative of introducing special offers and privileges to generate more business opportunities. Some have reported that as a result of the Festival, they enjoyed an increase of 10 to 30% in their business. In addition, global travel trade partners have developed special themed packages related to the Festival. To date, some 540,000 visitors worldwide have joined these packages to come to Hong Kong.

With even greater support from shopping malls and merchants, the Festival's lucky draw, which stipulated a minimum spending of HK$300 per entry, attracted an enthusiastic response from both visitors and local residents. Altogether five million tickets were collected, the largest-ever number for a lucky draw in Hong Kong. This means that the Festival has helped promote at least HK$1.5 billion of spending on shopping and dining, thereby benefiting these important sectors as well as the economy at large.

The lucky draw entries show that among the four shopping themes, Jewellery and Watches took up the highest value - about 40% - of visitors' spending, followed by Consumer Electronics, which took up about 20%. The category most popular with visitors was Fashion and Beauty, as 28% of all visitors spent on this category. Jewellery and Watches came second, with 25% of visitors purchasing items in this category.

Besides shopping, the Festival featured a host of dining offers, themed activities and entertainment to showcase Hong Kong's vibrancy and provide visitors with a 'total' experience. HKTB's surveys show that the three attractions in Tsim Sha Tsui - the focus of the festivities - were all very popular among visitors. These include the Avenue of Stars, A Symphony of Lights fronting Victoria Harbour and the Aqua Fantasia multi-media water show in front of the Clock Tower. Altogether 600,000 or an average of nearly 10,000 spectators per night enjoyed the spectacular Aqua Fantasia.

Mrs Chow emphasized that the Board's publicity activities during the Festival period had successfully enhanced the exposure of Hong Kong and its core strengths internationally. Together with various promotions, they highlighted the city's quality service and hospitality.

To promote the Festival, the HKTB stepped up its publicity in 16 long- and short-haul markets. For the first time, TV advertisements for the Festival were broadcast in Mainland China, Taiwan and Thailand. Initial results of HKTB's surveys show that one in every two visitors was aware of the Festival. The awareness levels in the Mainland, Taiwan and Thailand were even higher. This shows that the Board's marketing and publicity efforts overseas were successful in attracting visitors.

At the same time, the Board received over 820,000 requests for assistance and information on the Festival through its Visitor Information & Services Centres, visitor hotline and the lucky draw kiosk, demonstrating the high level of interest of visitors and local residents in the Festival.

To generate extensive publicity and a wave of shopping expeditions to Hong Kong, the HKTB staged the "Shopper of the Year" contest in 15 key source markets. Together with advertising and media coverage, the Festival achieved tremendous global publicity value, which has already exceeded HK$145 million to date. Over 60 media representatives from Europe, Canada, Southeast Asia, Japan, Taiwan and the Mainland visited Hong Kong to cover the Festival and the 'total' experience offered here. The resulting coverage will further stimulate visitors' desire to come to Hong Kong.

"We could not have achieved these excellent results without the strong, all round support of our partners, including the retail and catering industries, the operators of attractions and various service sectors," Mrs Chow said. "Together we will continue to work hard to bring our tourism industry and economy to further new heights."

The HKTB conducted the lucky draw ceremony last week, September 2. Performing the draw were Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, The Hon Stephen Ip, GBS, JP; HKTB Chairman, The Hon Mrs Selina Chow, GBS, OBE, JP; Commissioner for Tourism, Eva Cheng, JP; and HKTB Executive Director, Clara Chong. Together with representatives of the prize sponsors, they drew winners of 56 fabulous prizes that between them were worth over HK$2.5 million.

Heading the list of 56 fabulous prizes drawn last September 2 was the Grand Prize of a ladies' diamond watch worth HK$500,000, sponsored by the Oriental Watch Group. In addition, there were nine Super Prizes worth over HK$100,000 each, including business class air tickets, an air travel pass, electrical appliances, pearl and diamond jewellery. Further details and the lucky draw results will be posted on the HKTB web site at DiscoverHongKong.com starting last September 3.

- Ends -

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