Hong Kong's newest wow even the most experienced MICE agentsBy Staff Reporter
10 Mar 2017
Hong Kong is renowned for offering visitors the best of both worlds—Eastern character and Western comforts, savoury snacks and fine dining, fresh urban attractions and the chance to live like a seasoned local—and with a 9.9 per cent increase in MICE arrivals last year, the city continues to reign supreme as a leading destination for meetings and events.
As an incentive for more than 50 top MICE agents from mainland China, India, Indonesia and—for the first time ever in Hong Kong—South Korea, Meetings & Exhibitions Hong Kong (MEHK), a division of Hong Kong Tourism Board, held its largest famil tour ever. New to this year’s event was an experience-packed itinerary, featuring the city’s latest and greatest.
A fresh take on Asia’s World City
Hong Kong, a city renowned for implementing new entertainment, architecture and technology well before the crowd, had plenty in store for those seeking the latest in innovation.
The mainland China group’s agenda began at Hong Kong Disneyland, with it’s own on-site, 1,500sqm flexible meeting space and two hotels (a third, Disney Explorers Lodge, will open in April), the park served as an excellent introduction to Hong Kong’s events capacity.
But the real highlight of the day was the Iron Man Experience, a ducking and diving 3D motion simulator serving as the very first Marvel-themed ride at a Disney park.
Later in the evening the delegates from four markets enjoyed Happy Wednesday at the Happy Valley Racecourse, experiencing the city’s iconic horse racing over drinks. Indian delegate Salim Charania of SOTC Travel Services weighed in on the festivities: “It should be called Jockey Club Carnival—with such energy and enthusiasm, so much going on! Our team really enjoyed themselves. I think everyone did.”
New excitement continued on the next evening, where delegates kicked their feet up at the newly created Chill Out @ The South pop-up at Ocean Park, featuring fine wines and delicacies from around the world. A twist on the usual wine and dine experience, the party was accented by light and water shows, street performers and live music.
A contemporary new taste at Old Town Central
While locals set off to work in the Central, city’s financial district, Salim and the Indian delegation took to Old Town Central for a morning stroll through streets lined with vintage antique shops and contemporary art galleries alike. The tour served as a perfect introduction to the city’s co-existing East/West, classic/urban identity, and gave the group a first-hand look at one of Hong Kong’s most iconic districts.
Starting at one of the city’s oldest and most cherished sites—Man Mo Temple, the team winded their way through 170-year-old corridors wafting with incense, learned a bit about the city’s rich history, and banged the ceremonial drum to mark their exit.
Back outside the temple, Indian delegate Nafees Kazi of Akbar Holidays said: “This is my first time in East Asia and, I have to say, I’m blown away. I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into the week, but it’s exceeded my expectations.”
When you think Hong Kong, you might think ‘skyscrapers and superstars,’ but the city has another side, one of rustic warmth, rich history, and above all, heavenly food and drink.
Meanwhile, also within the Old Town Central cluster, the South Korea delegation tried their hand at making fresh milk tea and egg tarts at the refurbished Police Married Quarters (PMQ), the iconic artist’s quarter of the city’s SoHo district. Team-building was in full swing throughout the affair and offered a much needed, homemade snack leading into their hike afterwards.
Sea, land, sky and beyond
Transportation around the island? The Bounty, a 60 passenger replica of the famed, 18th century British ship of the same name, the last of its kind in the world and a perfect stage for photo opps and the MICE group’s adventure around town.
The Indian group, preferring a more nostalgic ride within the city, enjoyed a TramOramic tour—a unique 1920s-style tram with an open-top upper deck and a vintage cabin lower deck featuring free wifi, plus Hong Kong‘s fascinating street scene as your meeting room.
Those seeking even loftier heights ventured to the top of the Peninsula Hotel to take flight on the China Clipper. The 20-minute, breathtaking helicopter ride to the island’s furthest reaches (piloted, no less, by local Hong Kong actor Michael Wong) was the icing on the cake for a trip already filled with memorable moments.
“Amazing, a highlight for sure,” said Indonesian delegate Andy Gunawan of PT WIM Tour & Travel. “I’ve been to Hong Kong many times before but this was a different view of the city. And to fly with Michael Wong? I felt like I was in the movies.”