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 January 11, 2006
Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade In Hong Kong

 The Year of the Dog will be celebrated with extra colour and excitement as the Cathay Pacific International Chinese New Year Night Parade is set to take place on the first evening of Chinese New Year on 29 January 2006 at the Tamar Site on Hong Kong Island. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of this signature event, which is also the first Mega Event of 2006 Discover Hong Kong Year, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is introducing more international and distinctive local elements to the Parade, which promises a true meeting of cultures and world-class entertainment.

At a media briefing (11 January), Ms Clara Chong, HKTB Executive Director and Mr Philip Chen, Chief Executive of Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, title sponsor of the Parade, announced advance details of the event. Joining them were representatives of several float sponsors.

Ms Chong said that the Parade is the first in the HKTB's expanded Mega Event programme in 2006 Discover Hong Kong Year. "These events have a proven track record of stimulating visitor arrivals and spending," she remarked. "In fact, we've just concluded our Hong Kong WinterFest programme with very encouraging results. With the wonderful support of our tourism and related sectors, we welcomed close to 2.8 million visitors during the Mega Event period between 25 November and 2 January, bringing our 2005 yearly arrivals beyond 23 million. This achievement means that we've not only met our target, but also set a new record for Hong Kong's tourism arrivals, which is indeed a promising start for 2006 Discover Hong Kong Year.

"Over the years, the Parade has become part of our celebrations during this most important Chinese festival, and made our city the focus of Lunar New Year celebrations worldwide," she continued. "On its 10th anniversary, we're determined to make it even more spectacular by boosting international and local elements. As well as showcasing Hong Kong's cultural diversity, we'll highlight the wonderful, multi-dimensional experiences that visitors can enjoy in 2006 Discover Hong Kong Year."

For the eighth consecutive year, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited will be the Parade's title sponsor. This year also marks the airline's 60th anniversary, another good reason for celebration. Cathay Pacific Chief Executive Philip Chen said, "Sixty years of uninterrupted Cathay Pacific investment in Hong Kong has strengthened Hong Kong as a global aviation hub, helped to build up Hong Kong as Asia's world city and brought tourism and investment. Our investment continues to grow and we will continue to employ more people, add more aircraft and introduce new destinations.

"We are delighted to begin Cathay Pacific's 60th anniversary year with the International Chinese New Year Parade. It is a truly world-class spectacle and an annual highlight for Hong Kong families and tourists alike," Mr Chen added.

Crossover of International & Local Cultures

To tie in with 2006 Discover Hong Kong Year, the HKTB has chosen the theme "Moments of Discovery" for the Parade. The five segments, namely Discover the Magic, Discover the Excitement, Discover the Heritage, Discover the Serenity and Discover the Sensations, will highlight Hong Kong's unique strengths and diverse appeal.

Altogether 40 groups are participating in the Parade, including 9 international and local floats, and 15 overseas and 16 local performing groups. In keeping with Hong Kong's reputation as Asia's world city, the HKTB has invited performing troupes from all five continents, many have participated in world-class events before. Of these, 11 -- the largest number ever -- are making their first appearance in Hong Kong. As for local performers, many are seasoned champions. Some troupes are formed by two different organisations to create a single performance. They have all been chosen by a specially formed selection committee to ensure that their high-quality performances will impress the audiences.

Another highlight will be the HKTB float, which is based on the winning entry of a float design competition jointly organised by the HKTB and Hong Kong Designers Association. A showcase of local designers' creative talents, the elaborately decorated float echoes the theme of "Moments of Discovery", and highlights Hong Kong's wonderful attractions.

Enhanced Multimedia, Sound and Lighting Effects

In celebration of the Year of the Dog, the Tamer Site will feature a new spectator stand layout. Spectators will not only be able to enjoy better views, but also witness the application of multimedia technology perfected during the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games. In each segment, floats and performers will stream into the performance ground, while a 60-metre -- the longest ever -- backdrop will display slides and video clips of the performers, as well as a variety of colourful images, to create stunning multimedia effects.

To spice up the festive elements, the HKTB will also enhance the lighting effects, and for the first time, install sound systems along the entire parade route. This will be lined with motivators, including Hong Kong's Popo group, to encourage spectators to join the fiesta.

Beginning at 8:00 pm from the Tamar Site, the Parade will follow a new route, and make its way along the Wan Chai Waterfront before ending at Expo Drive Central. Visitors and residents can purchase tickets for the spectator seating at the Tamar Site from the HKTB's Visitor Information and Services Centres, or they can view the procession free of charge along the parade route. Among the best vantage points are Harbour Road and Convention Avenue.

The Parade will be televised live in Hong Kong on Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB)'s Jade Channel between 8:00 pm and 9:30 pm, while TV stations across the Chinese Mainland and other parts of the globe will also relay and cover the event. Last year, the global publicity value generated from the media coverage exceeded HK$130 million.

The HKTB has already published a 2006 Chinese New Year Celebrations Activities Guide and will actively promote the Parade and other celebratory programmes to visitors during this period. These include the flower market, the Lunar New Year fireworks display, and the Guinness World Record-winning "A Symphony of Lights", which will be enhanced with pyrotechnic effects during the Lunar New Year holiday. To date, travel agents in a number of markets, including the United States, Canada, Europe and Taiwan, have introduced special tours packaging the Parade and related activities. To give visitors an added incentive to spend, the HKTB will distribute the 2006 Discover Hong Kong Year Bonus Guide, which features a host of offers and privileges by the travel-related sectors.

Ms Chong is urging local residents to extend a warm welcome to visitors. "In particular, we encourage everyone to send the HKTB e-Invite to friends and relatives overseas, and share with them the colourful festivities on this joyous occasion," she said. "Together we'll create a truly memorable experience for visitors from around the world in 2006 Discover Hong Kong Year."