Following is the speech (English only) by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Donald Tsang, at the Tourism Promotion Fair & Film Festival launch in Seoul today (October 26):
Director Yoo, honoured guests, ladies and gentlemen - Good evening,
Welcome everybody to the launch of our 'Hong Kong - Live it! Love it!' tourism fair and Hong Kong Film Festival. As you can see from all the action taking place around us, we intend to make a BIG impression on the people of Seoul over the next two weeks. We want to build on the almost half a million visitors we welcomed from Korea last year.
So, today I have just one main message, and that is : Come and visit us! Come and experience for yourselves all that we offer our guests from around the world in Hong Kong, Asia's world city.
As you may know, we endured some tough times earlier this year. But Hong Kong has bounced back strongly and we're now working harder to give our visitors their best welcome ever. And I would like to thank Director Yoo from the Ministry of Tourism and Culture for his strong support, and members of the Korean travel trade, who I know have played a very important role in rekindling visitors' interest in Hong Kong these past few months.
Indeed, now is the best time to visit Hong Kong, when the weather is mild and fair and the city takes on a festive atmosphere for Christmas and the Lunar New Year. This year, we have something extra special for visitors - a new light and laser extravaganza that will light up our world-famous harbour more stunningly that ever before. So, it's a great time to take in our spectacular skyline, enjoy a peaceful walk through our beautiful country parks, or simply set your taste buds tingling by sampling some of the best food you will find anywhere in Asia.
As part of our promotion here in Seoul, we're also showcasing some of the magic of Hong Kong cinema in our first film festival in Korea. And I'm delighted that one of our most popular and talented actors, Leon Lai, has been able to join us this evening. As you will see, Leon is one of the 'Heroic Duo' - his latest film - which is featured in the festival opening, along with seven other celebrated Hong Kong movies. Among them you will find films to suit all tastes - action thriller, drama, romance and comedy.
I'm proud to say that we are one of the world's best known producers and exporters of films, providing entertainment for audiences around the globe; and producing 'superstars' such as Jackie Chan, Chow Yun-fat and the late Bruce Lee, who, even today, has a cult-like following.
Our actors, directors and producers are making names for themselves, and for Hong Kong, on the international scene. They are winning acclaim for their unique style, incisive direction and sometimes off-beat story lines, including awards in the Pusan International Film Festival. So, it's nice to see that our movies continue to be popular in Korea; just as Korean films and TV dramas are becoming more popular in Hong Kong.
Ladies and gentlemen, the promotions we are holding here in Seoul are just a small sampling of what we have to offer in Hong Kong. The best thing you can do is to come and experience it for yourselves. We look forward to extending a warm Hong Kong welcome to all of you when you come to visit us.
Thank you very much.
End/Sunday, October 26, 2003