A Goatin' Good Time

Suppliers line up Hong Kong tours to coincide with Chinese New Year

By: David Peterkofsky

The year 2002 has been good to Hong Kong, with an 18% increase in international visitors during the first 10 months of the year, including a nearly 5% rise in visitors from the United States. And tour operators no doubt hope that the upcoming Year of the Goat will bring even more luck and visitors to Hong Kong in 2003.

The new year is drawing near, and many of the leading tour companies to Asia have introduced travel packages to coincide with this year’s Chinese New Year festivities, the bulk of which will take place Feb. 1-3, 2003, in Hong Kong.

Considered the most important of Hong Kong’s festivals, the celebration brings the city to life with colorful lights, flower markets, a waterfront parade, a fireworks display over Victoria Harbour and horse races.

Clients can choose from the following tours, which represent a small sampling of the Chinese New Year tours now on the market (all prices are based on double occupancy):

General Tours offers an eight-day, six-night tour priced from $999 per person, including roundtrip air from Los Angeles or San Francisco. Also part of the package are accommodations at the Kowloon Shangri-La, daily breakfast, a half-day Hong Kong Island tour, an evening harbor cruise, tickets to the New Year parade and viewing of fireworks from a boat in the harbor. Departures are available for Jan. 28, 29 and 30. Call 800-223-0266. Web site: www.generaltours.com.

Aberdeen Tours’ six-night package, priced from $995, includes roundtrip air from LAX, SFO, SEA, LAS or HON; seating for the parade; a day trip to Shenzhen, China; and a buffet dinner. Call 877-956-8886. Web site: www.aberdeentours.com.

Pacific Delight Tours’ six-night New Year plan, priced from $960 per person, includes roundtrip air, VIP seats for the parade and a tour with visits to Stanley Market, Repulse Bay and Victoria Peak. Departure dates are Jan. 27, 28 and 29. Call 800-221-7179. Web site: www.pacific delighttours.com.

Uniworld’s six-night Spectacular Chinese New Year program, priced from $1,158 per person, includes roundtrip air from LAX, a dim sum lunch, reserved bleacher seats for the parade and a New Year’s Eve Chinese banquet. Call 800-360-9550. Web site: www.uniworld.com.

Pleasant Holidays’ Hong Kong Chinese New Year Festival Tour, priced from $998, features roundtrip air, daily breakfast, bleacher seats for the parade and a museum pass. Through Dec. 15, travelers who purchase the above package in conjunction with Pleasant’s travel protection plan (priced from $1,188 per person, double) qualify for a roundtrip airline ticket to Hawaii or Cancun for $149. Call 800-377-1080. Web site: www. pleasantholidays.com.