The Hong Kong Tourism Board has teamed up with 'FriendsWithYou,' a pop-art duo of Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, to bring their gigantic art installation and signature pop-art characters to the Art Park in the West Kowloon Cultural District.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) today officially launched a West Kowloon neighborhood program, following very successful programs featuring the Old Town Central and Sham Shui Po neighborhoods, as part of its ongoing “Hong Kong Neighborhoods” campaign.
The “West Kowloon” neighborhood program 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+ and the Hong Kong Palace Museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) – which will open in the end of the year and next year, respectively, and become landmarks in art and cultural tourism.
As art is inseparable from life, the West Kowloon neighborhood program builds a bridge between the local life of the bustling communities of Yau Ma Tei and Jordan, which are home to many historical architecture sites, time-tested stores and traditional craftsmanship, and the artistic lure of the WKCD.
Throughout the continuous evolution and revitalization, the neighborhood has numerous astonishing experiences for the public and visitors to uncover. The campaign will draw people from across the city to rediscover it from new perspectives to drive in-depth local tourism and stimulate economic activities in the neighborhood while international borders are not fully opened.
HKTB Executive Director Mr. Dane Cheng said, “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 neighborhood. We hope Hong Kong people will then share their experiences with friends and relatives outside of Hong Kong. Besides, visitors around the world are eager to travel as soon as travel restrictions are eased, and we will be able to capitalize 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.
The HKTB believes the West Kowloon neighborhood program 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.”
Five walking routes to uncover a rich heritage
Starting from the beautiful shoreline at the West Kowloon Cultural District, the “West Kowloon” neighborhood program 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, there are 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 book store 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 neighborhood campaign page of the HKTB website. Special offers have been arranged with shops and restaurants in the neighborhood for people who take part in the walks to encourage spending.
Photo spot with spectacular large-scale art installations
Art is a central theme of the West Kowloon neighborhood program. In addition to the M+ and the Hong Kong Palace Museum, the HKTB has teamed up with “FriendsWithYou,” a pop-art duo featuring Samuel Borkson from Florida 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 neighborhood. The installations will be in the Art Park in the West Kowloon Cultural District from September 23 to October 14 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 program webpage QR code will be displayed around the Yau Ma Tei and Jordan MTR stations and on lampposts along Museum Drive. Virtual visitors can also enjoy promotional films featuring well-known personalities from the neighborhood, who guide viewers along the streets and sidewalks and give their first-hand perspectives to viewers worldwide who are currently unable to visit in person.