Hong Kong could be looking at banding its culture, sports and tourism bureaus together under one roof, in an effort to rebuild the destination's standing as a creative, sports events and MICE hub.
The idea was proposed by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam at the 2021 Policy Address on 6 October, with under six months to go before the next chief executive selection.
If confirmed, the new Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau — the largest restructuring since 2007 — will also develop Hong Kong into a “hub for arts and cultural exchange between China and the rest of the world”.
Under China's latest five-year plan, several arts and cultural facilities are already sprouting, especially in Kowloon East and the West Kowloon Cultural District.
As well, Lam added that the government is continuing to work with Ocean Park in its operations overhaul, which includes a pier to connect the theme park with other local attractions in Hong Kong's Southern district — prospected as a future tourism hotspot.
There will also be improvements made to Victoria Harbour's promenade and facilities, plus new cycling routes — covering Tuen Mun to Ma On Shan.
Turning to the sporting scene, the region’s Olympic Committee Chairman Timothy Fok has welcomed the proposal, pointing out that the new bureau could attract events such as the annual Rugby Sevens, as sports tourism gains prominence in Hong Kong.
This includes the Kai Tak Sports Park due in 2023, and plans for a new facility at the Hong Kong Sports Institute by 2024 — leading up to the China National Games in 2025, co hosted by Hong Kong, Guangdong and Macau.
Dr Pang Yiu-kai, Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has too welcomed the plan, nothing that the new bureau would "consolidate Hong Kong's position as the MICE and tourism capital of the Greater Bay Area, as well as an international travel destination through hosting major international MICE events".