Hong Kong is not only a destination, but a motivating experienceHong Kong prides itself on being the meeting point for East and West business contacts. There is no better location for a convention or exhibition that aims to attract senior executives and buyers from both hemispheres. Hong Kong is part of China, the massive market of the present and the future, but so British in so many of its more recent customs and methods of doing business. It was, after all, part of the British commonwealth of nations for almost 100 years. However, it is more than a serious trading centre. It knows how to have fun and any incentive award winner or business guest invited there by British hosts will be forever grateful. Hong Kong is a destination where hospitality, motivation and team-building can at one and the same time immerse the participants in Chinese manners and traditions that will serve them well in future business dealings.
More green than you think
In the minds of those who do not know Hong Kong well, a common image is that of crowded, congested narrow streets lined with tall office buildings. You can certainly come across places that will reinforce that image, especially at night when the street markets are in full swing. But Hong Kong is actually a Chinese mainland peninsula with a cluster of beautiful islands where visitors can find tranquillity, unspoilt nature, wooded hills and remote monasteries and fishing villages. And Hong Kong is now able to put more emphasis on this kind of experience. There are bridges and roads linking islands so that access is more rapid. There are more ferry connections, serving the increasing demand from local residents who look for breaks from the bustling city. The geological formations that can be found in Hong Kong are just beginning to make an impact. Hong Kong Geopark has recently opened in Sai Kung.
MICE groups can charter a boat for a visit or take a coach, depending on the time available in the leisure programme. There are dramatic rock foundations with ages calculated in millennia, tubular rock columns and sea caves as well as the quiet, picturesque marine park called Yan Chau Tong. Another option is a visit to Nan Lian Garden, which is not only a beautiful Tang dynasty oasis but also a place where delegates can immerse themselves in traditional Chinese culture, such as all types of tea and the symbolic meanings of its preparation. The Garden, located on Diamond Hill, Kowloon, has facilities for meetings to be held there.
The essence of everything Chinese can be blended into activities that groups will enjoy to the full and never forget. What might immediately spring to mind when thinking of Chinese culture are Chinese cuisine, dragon boat racing and lion dancing. Hong Kong is fully aware of that and is able to offer experiences in them all.
Cooking classes can be set up so that the very act of preparing a sumptuous tasty meal helps to create teamwork and friendship. Instead of competing, each participant is given a different function so that they can all enjoy the total success of the occasion. The jobs range over assistant chefs, purchasing ingredients and preparing the food, so that everyone can feel proud to have been part of the process. Dragon boat racing is an obvious activity that can bind teams together and get them to enjoy the process. Even if a team falls short of proficiency it can still make a splash!
The essence of lion dancing has to be working as a team. When the dance is learned and the whole lion performs its tricks, then everyone can be proud of having played a part.
Feng Shui, translatable as ‘Wind and Water’, is one of the mysteries of the East that is beginning to have an effect on Western thinking. It is a belief and way of looking at everything that has grown up over 4,000 years in China. Hong Kong can offer Feng Shui Tours that take groups to see how and why buildings have been located and designed in keeping with this philosophy that aims to ensure that mankind lives in harmony with nature.
A tour can last 3.5 hours, with groups able to see examples of locations that have made the most of a dragon’s energy or that have made sure that negative influences have been nullified. The guides will explain how the principles of Feng Shui have been able to contribute to the success of a commercial or financial district.
Hong Kong has so many facets, that it is a relief to learn that the MEHK (Meetings and Exhibitions Hong Kong) has produced a complete guide to what MICE planners and event organisers have as options in the territory. It is actually called The Black Book Guide, but it uses six colours within its pages (and on the web) to classify the different types of services. Blue is accommodation and transport, Red encompasses shopping, bars and dining, Green is a natural for parks and heritage, White is health and wellness, Orange covers venues, galas, team building and CRS, whilst Yellow offers Hong Kong’s attractions, seasonal festivals and events.
No end to the variety of day and night events
In spite of its small size, the territory of Hong Kong has a remarkable range of experiences to offer from morning to night. Groups can join the local residents in the parks to start the day with toning the brain and the body with a Tai Chi Master.
In the evening, in the very centre of the busiest part of town is the Happy Valley racecourse, where a group can enjoy dinner whilst watching the races.
In the day or the evening, organisers can arrange for open-top tram parties, with groups having food and fun whilst getting to know the ins and outs of the city.
And for something completely different, it is possible in Hong Kong to swim with dolphins and watch giant pandas have their breakfast at Ocean Park.