- Özgür Töre
The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) revealed that its annual signature event “Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival” will, for the first time, take on a virtual format.
“The Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival has been one of the most popular events among locals and tourists alike since its inception over a decade ago. Despite the Covid-19 outbreak this year, we hope people can continue to enjoy Hong Kong’s unique dining culture while providing business opportunities for the local F&B sector amidst this challenging economic climate. Organizing the Festival virtually allows us to achieve both objectives without compromising public health and safety,” said HKTB Chairman Dr. YK Pang.
Dr Pang added, “The virtual Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival will strive to recreate the festive, joie de vivre atmosphere the event is famous for, by offering access to exclusive wine and gourmet experiences curated by experts on the subject. Taking advantage of the virtual format, the event will be extended from the usual four days to several weeks so that more people can take part regardless of time and geographical constraints.”
To preserve as much original flavour of the physical event as possible, the HKTB is building an online hub where most of the Festival programmes will take place.
A variety of wine merchants will be providing special discounts and products tailored for the Festival, which participants can browse and purchase in a virtual exhibition space. Meanwhile, renowned wine and food critics, chefs and wine experts will be invited to speak on wine-pairing and culinary topics in virtual workshops and classes.
The Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival was launched in 2009, after Hong Kong and Bordeaux signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Co-operation in Wine-related Business. The large-scale outdoor event quickly became a talk of the town, and was dubbed one of the world’s top 10 international food and wine festivals by Forbes Traveler.
The first online “Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival” will be run for several weeks, and will feature a line-up of programmes equally exciting as in the real-life editions. The HKTB will roll out a dedicated one-stop online hub, offering a myriad of exclusive offers from hundreds of wine merchants and restaurants. Moreover, virtual gastronomic experiences, such as themed wine-tasting classes taught by wine experts and mixologists and cooking demonstrations given by top chefs, will be introduced. It is hoped that locals and fans of Hong Kong can enjoy world-class wine and dining experiences through these online activities without worrying about social-distancing restrictions or time and geographical constraints. Merchants who have initially registered for the real-life “Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival” can take part in the online version for free. Details will be announced in due course.
Mr. Ben Cheung, Trading & Brand Manager of Watson’s Wine said: “Online shopping has become an inevitable trend during the pandemic. We believe spending sentiment will not diminish even when the ‘Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival’ is held online. Also, the event has always been popular among locals. We are confident that it will retain its appeal despite the new format. That is why we are supporting the event again this year and are planning to present limited-time offers. We hope to give locals a taste of top-quality products at attractive prices.”
A representative of Restaurant FAM said: “This year’s ‘Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival’ not only offers a one-stop promotion platform for merchants, but the new virtual format will also facilitate our reach to potential customers. We will work with the HKTB to provide unique virtual experiences such as wine pairing experiences and cooking demonstrations with a view to increasing awareness of our brand among consumers.”