Harbourfront night markets under a government-led campaign designed to reinvigorate Hong Kong’s night-time economy have drawn some 270,000 visitors since the drive was introduced in September, Hong Kong’s deputy finance minister has said.

But the government did not have figures on the events’ economic impact.

night market mid-autumn festival
Hong Kong marks Mid-Autumn Festival on September 29, 2023. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

In a written reply to lawmaker Benson Luk on Wednesday, the city’s Deputy Financial Secretary Michael Wong said more than 25 events had been held under the “Night Vibes Hong Kong” banner since mid-September. The campaign was launched in an effort to redress weak consumption and reinvigorate the city’s evening economy after Covid-related restrictions kept Hongkongers at home for the better part of three years.

“The ‘Night Vibes Hong Kong’ campaign has received positive feedback from citizens and tourists since its launch,” Wong said, adding that the government would continue to roll out more events over Christmas, the New Year countdown, and the Lunar New Year.

Much of the government’s drive to boost the evening economy is centred around malls, pop-up night markets, and events already firmly entrenched in the city’s calendar. It runs from Mid-Autumn Festival, which this year fell in late September, until Lunar New Year, in early February, traditionally the city’s busiest period for spending and for tourism.

Fa Yuen Street Mong Kok evening Hong Kong shopping
Fa Yuen Street in Mong Kok, Hong Kong, at around 9.30 pm on September 26, 2023. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

As part of the campaign, special offers have been provided at more than 80 shopping malls, and fare concessions have been offered by public transport operators.

No ‘specific estimation’

Wong said 660,000 attendees were recorded at Mid-Autumn Festival celebrations, while the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Hong Kong Museum of Art, and Hong Kong Space Museum received over 7,200 visitors during extended evening hours on weekends and public holidays that started on September 29.

Crowds people National Day 2023 fireworks
Crowds watch a National Day fireworks display in Hong Kong, on October 1, 2023. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

He added that the National Day fireworks display attracted over 430,000 spectators on both sides of Victoria Harbour, while some 140,000 people attended the Hong Kong Wine & Dine Festival held at the Central Harbourfront space.

“Victoria [Harbour] is a symbol of Hong Kong and as [of] 31 October, some 270 000 people have visited the night-time events on the three harbourfront sites,” Wong wrote.

He also said the government had not made “any specific estimation of the number of additional tourists and extra economic benefits” that the campaign might bring.

HKFP has reached out to the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau for comment.

Michael Wong
Michael Wong. File photo: GovHK.

The three night markets at Wan Chai harbourfront, Sai Wan harbourfront and Kwun Tong harbourfront were touted as mainstays of the Night Vibes campaign. The Temple Street Night Market is set to see its post-pandemic reopening later this month, but stalls are expected to close earlier than their harbourfront counterparts, given the market’s proximity to residential areas.

“The change of lifestyle habits following the global pandemic would take time to adjust,” Wong said. “Meanwhile, the Government will keep exploring every possible means to boost our overall economy, including night-time economy.”

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James Lee is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press with an interest in culture and social issues. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in Journalism from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he witnessed the institution’s transformation over the course of the 2019 extradition bill protests and after the passing of the Beijing-imposed security law.

Since joining HKFP in 2023, he has covered local politics, the city’s housing crisis, as well as landmark court cases including the 47 democrats national security trial. He was previously a reporter at The Standard where he interviewed pro-establishment heavyweights and extensively covered the Covid-19 pandemic and Hong Kong’s political overhauls under the national security law.