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With 41.9 million visitor arrivals to Hong Kong in 2011, an all-time high, it is hardly a surprise that the destination has a knack for marketing itself in inventive ways. Recently, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) joined forces with the Macau Government Tourism Office and China’s Guangdong Provincial Tourism Authority for a new episode of American Public Televisions’ “Richard Bangs’ Adventures With Purpose” — starring adventure travel pioneer, Richard Bangs.
The new episode, called “Quest for Harmony,” is the second “Adventures With Purpose” episode to be filmed in Hong Kong. The first, “Quest for the Dragon,” was nominated for an Emmy and won a Lowell Thomas Society of American Travel Writers Gold Award in the Travel-Broadcast Video category. Despite its February debut, “Quest for Harmony” has already won a Bronze Telly Award in the documentary category.
“For this episode, we wanted to look at Asia vacations the way consumers do — more than 90 percent of visitors to Hong Kong are visiting as part of a multi-destination vacation,” explained Bill Flora, U.S. director of the HKTB. “But it’s not enough to just create a television show, so we worked with Cathay Pacific Airways and its China Experiences brand to put together travel itineraries based on the destinations visited on the show.”
This venture marks the first time three Asia tourism boards have united to support the development of a nationally distributed television show and themed itineraries.
“We took the lead with partners that we already have a great relationship with and that also have geographical locations that work well with a multi-destination vacation,” Flora said.
With the 11-day Quest for Harmony: Three Pearls package, guests will follow the footsteps of Richard Bangs, exploring Macau, Guangdong and Hong Kong and learning how these destinations reconcile the traditions of the East and West. In Macau, for example, visitors will discover the region’s dual Portuguese and Cantonese heritage with tours of the Chapel of St. Francis Xavier and Tam Kung Temple. Guests will also take in the expansive views from the 1,108-feet high Macau Tower and watch Franco Dragone’s spectacular water-themed show, “The House of Dancing Water” in the City of Dreams.
In the province of Guangdong, guests will visit Danxia Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, hike the Guangdong Grand Canyon’s 1,386 stone steps and visit the Buddhist monastery, Nanhua Temple.
The last four nights of the tour are spent in Hong Kong, where travelers will ride a sampan (a flat-bottomed skiff) to a seafood lunch at Jumbo Floating Restaurant, tour Lantau Island (home to one of the world’s largest Buddha statues) and shop Hong Kong’s famous markets including the Shau Kei Wan Wet Market. Airfare inclusive, the tour starts at $6,988 per person, based on double occupancy, and offers a $500 commission to travel agents.
The eight-day Quest for Harmony: Macau and Hong Kong itinerary and the eight-day Quest for Harmony: Hong Kong and Guangdong package offer agents a $400 commission and are priced from $5,684 and $4,938, respectively.
“All three itineraries focus on cultural exploration and will whet travelers’ interests in Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong,” said Flora. “We’re able to provide a great and convenient way for people to experience the highlights of the show in person.”