After Hong Kong’s flagship wine tasting and dining event, Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival, got cancelled last year due to anti-government protests, this year’s edition will cancel the physical exhibition part and take the whole event online, Hong Kong Tourism Board has announced.
Originally scheduled for October 29 to November 1, the festival will now be stretched out for a few weeks, according to the organizer though dates are not yet announced.
HKTB Chairman Dr YK Pang said: “The third wave of Covid-19 infection is putting further pressure on the local economy. Business operations in general have become even more difficult than the first half of the year.
“As the ‘Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival’ is one of the city’s most anticipated annual events, we have decided to change our strategy and move the event to the virtual space in view of the Covid-19 situation. Organizing it virtually will allow us to continue to boost local economy without compromising the health and safety of the exhibitors and participants. As in previous editions, wine merchants will be able to promote their products, and opportunities will be generated for related sectors. Leveraging the event, we will sustain Hong Kong’s global exposure by promoting the city’s image as a culinary capital to visitors worldwide.”
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.
Ben Cheung, Trading & Brand Manager of Hong Kong’s biggest wine retailer 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.”
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.”