DestinationsWhere visitors can go back in time while riding the observation wheel, or catch live events from socially distanced private pods.

HK gets new stomping Grounds for post-Covid play

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The Grounds at AIA Vitality Park is Hong Kong’s first socially-distanced outdoor cinema and events space, with appropriately-spaced pods that seat two to four people.
The Grounds at AIA Vitality Park is Hong Kong’s first socially-distanced outdoor cinema and events space, with appropriately-spaced pods that seat two to four people.

An iconic feature on the Victoria Harbour since its inception six years ago, Hong Kong Observation Wheel (HKOW) recently launched an augmented reality app to give visitors a feel of the city's past.

The app, which uses a moving, 360-degree platform, virtually transports visitors through Hong Kong’s three distinctive eras—1890s-1920s, 1960s-1980s and present day—while riding the observation wheel.

Stuart Spencer, group chief marketing officer of AIA Group, believes that the introduction of "this world-first technology” will “provide an enriching customer experience for people of all ages”.

Putting heavy emphasis on stringent health and safety measures, HKOW, like many attractions across Hong Kong, has directed its campaign towards the domestic segment.

The app's launch would had been a timely initiative to welcome visitors from Singapore too, had the much-anticipated Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble went ahead on November 22.

HKOW is nevertheless working with travel agencies to attract potential Singaporean visitors when the travel bubble eventually launches.

Speaking to Travel Weekly Asia, commercial director at HKOW, Alex Gibbs shared that the attraction is in collaboration with different travel agencies, both overseas and local, on arrangements to offer a smooth and efficient visitor experience. "This includes special booking arrangements, flexibility and other considerations based on their needs," he said.

In the City in Transition mode of the AR App, images of Hong Kong in the 1960-1980’s overlay what is seen today.
In the City in Transition mode of the AR App, images of Hong Kong in the 1960-1980’s overlay what is seen today.

While Gibbs admits that many cities, including Singapore, already have an observation wheel, HKOW differs thanks to its regular-changing events and entertainment projects.

Tucked under HKOW, The Grounds at AIA Vitality Park was launched in early November as Hong Kong’s first socially-distanced outdoor cinema and events space, featuring rotational weekly line-ups of yoga sessions, movie screenings and live on-screen rugby matches.

“The Hong Kong Observation Wheel is more than just a tourist attraction—it’s a hub of events, activities and entertainment,” said Gibbs. “We provide regular fitness and wellness classes for the public, as part of our commitment to making Hong Kong Observation Wheel and AIA Vitality Park accessible to all."

“We currently work with some Hong Kong travel agencies which are now organising local tourism tours as supported by the Hong Kong Tourism Board”, said a spokesperson from the Vitality Park. “The [HKOW] is a popular attraction as part of these tours."

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