The 2020 Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival officially drew to a close today (15 December). It was the first time the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) had adopted an “online + offline” format for the mega event, ensuring that the public could take part without having to worry about the Covid-19 outbreak. During the five consecutive weeks it was held (11 November to 15 December), the Festival had laid a full table of gastronomic experiences. Meanwhile, the HKTB leveraged the event to promote and sustain Hong Kong’s exposure in the visitor source markets.
Online Masterclasses viewed around 850,000 times
The Online Masterclasses – a new “ingredient” of this year’s Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival – became a go-to programme at home for many people during the Covid-19 outbreak. A total of 34 classes were held during three weekends, generating almost 850,000 views. About 30% of the viewers came from the short- and long-haul markets, such as India, Taiwan, the UK, France, the US and Canada.
The most popular Online Masterclasses included the “Ah Yat Fried Rice” cooking demonstration by Forum Restaurant’s Executive Chef Adam Wong; the craft beer and artisan cheese pairing class by Young Master Brewery and Monsieur CHATTÉ; and “Art of Blending: When Johnnie Walker Meets Coffee” by world-class mixologist Antonio Lai and professional coffee barista Timmy Lam.
While all the Online Masterclasses were completed, the full videos are still available for free viewing on the event website (winedinefestival.discoverhongkong.com).
Many of the Online Masterclasses featured wine-tasting and cooking kits for purchase, allowing the participants to share the full experience with wine experts and celebrity chefs during the online classes. In particular, the tasting kits for “A Date with the ‘Snow Goddess Yukimegami’”, hosted by Sake Service Institute of Japan-certified sake sommelier Jamie Lo, were sold out in a short time. Ms Lo said: “It was a new experience to give a tasting class over the computer screen. The interaction with the participants also made the experience more fun. The class was priced lower than its cost to attract participation, and it was encouraging to know that the tasting kit was popular.”
Takeaway/delivery menus and dining offers met with good response
This year’s Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival continued to bring opportunities for wine merchants and the dining sector to promote their products and do businesses. For example, the HKTB collaborated with a number of top hotels and popular restaurants to present 30 menus for delivery or takeaway, some of which were exclusive to the Festival, including a special afternoon tea set designed by Grand Hyatt Hong Kong. The hotel’s Director of Marketing Communications Ms Eva Kwok said: “The limited-time-only afternoon tea set was selling better than we expected. Though Hong Kong people are eating out less these days, they are still drawn by exquisite food.”
During the Festival, the HKTB also partnered with various dining platforms and associations to roll out all kinds of offers at over 500 dining outlets. During those days when the Covid-19 situation was under control, over 10,000 reservations had been made. Mr Ryan So, Director of Business Development Greater Bay Area and Hong Kong of Dining City, one of the Festival’s partner platforms, said: “Through the HKTB’s promotional platform, many of our participating restaurants achieved more reservations than expected and reached new customer segments.”
Continued promotion of Hong Kong in visitor source markets
Leveraging the Festival, the HKTB conducted promotions in the visitor source markets with a focus on enhancing Hong Kong’s image as a culinary capital. It arranged a series of online wine-and-dine activities for nearly 100 journalists from the long- and short-haul markets, such as previews of the Online Masterclasses, a virtual dining culture guided tour, and interviews and interaction with well-known Hong Kong chefs and wine critics. Even though the international media could not be in Hong Kong physically, they were still able to learn about the city’s food culture and get the latest news about its dining scene.