Tourism stakeholders in Hong Kong have urged the government to place innovation and creativity at the fore of revamping A Symphony of Lights, the nightly laser show involving skyscrapers on both sides of Victoria Harbour, as visitor numbers are falling.
Launched in 2004 and described by the Guinness World Records as the largest permanent light and sound show on the planet, the attraction peaked at 1.8 million attendees in 2011.
But the wow factor and crowds have since declined. The Hong Kong Tourism Board, which promotes the show, said figures fell to 1.77 million in 2014, and 1.45 million in 2015.
The existing show is to run until the fourth quarter of the year, when it will be replaced by the revamped show, a Tourism Commission spokesman said, aiming to develop Hong Kong’s “own brand of light attraction”.
Expenses are shared between the government and the participating buildings, which pay for their lighting installations and other costs such as electricity.
The city earlier this year had budgeted HK$243 million to improve tourist attractions. The commission said its survey found visitors who had watched the light show were “generally satisfied” with it.
Young Post junior reporter and contributor Catherine Wang, 18, from Chinese International School said something needed to be done to improve the nightly laser show.
“I watched the show last year when I was wandering around the harbour area. It was enjoyable, but I think that adding music and video would make it better. The show could also include boats, to highlight our fishing culture,” says Catherine.
To better promote the show, the junior reporter suggested it might be good to put up posters, or make handouts that include things like where the best areas to watch the show might be, and what time to be there by.
Another junior reporter Henry Lui, 18, from Sha Tin College, said the nightly laser show was not attractive at all. “What the Hong Kong Tourism Board should be investing in is the development of Chinese cultural attractions, such as the proposed Palace Museum. I believe that shifting tourism away from the retail sector would be a much better solution to dwindling visitor numbers, as that will be less affected by economic downturn elsewhere,” he says.