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Hits (and misses) among new attractions in post-97 Hong Kong

The tourism industry in Hong Kong has flourished in the 15 years since the city reverted to Chinese control, fuelled by enthusiastic development and a massive influx of visitors from across the border.

travel Updated: Jun 27, 2012 16:17 IST
AFP

The tourism industry in Hong Kong has flourished in the 15 years since the city reverted to Chinese control, fuelled by enthusiastic development and a massive influx of visitors from across the border.

While shopping and eating remain the preferred pastimes for the majority of tourists who come to the city -- and there were a record 41.9 million of them in 2011 -- there have been some major attractions added to the scene since 1997.

Here's a look at the ones which have created the biggest noise -- not always for the right reasons, too.

Golden Bauhinia Square & Special Flag Raising Ceremony: This is where it all happened, as on July 1, 1997, Chinese took control of Hong Kong after the British had been in charge since 1842. The "Forever Blooming Bauhinia" Sculpture (or the Golden Bauhinia) was a gift from the Central Government to the people of Hong Kong and has proved a hit with mainland Chinese tourists and tour groups ever since that historic day.

Hong Kong Disneyland: It's small, in terms of theme parks, and questions have long been raised about just how much the Hong Kong government had to put in to lure Mickey Mouse and his mates to town. But the kids love it -- and attendances keep on rising (a record 5.9 million in 2011) since its opening in 2005.

1881 Heritage: What once was the Marine Police headquarters was controversially turned into a high-end hotel and a shopping mall that opened in 2009. And while the merits of the latter have been debated, it's a great place to sit over a cold drink as the sun sets.

Ngong Ping 360: A spectacular way to make your way to the Big Buddha on Lantau island as the cable car climbs high over the mountains. A few operational hiccups seem not to have deterred the thrill-seeking masses since its grand opening in 2006.

Sky100 Hong Kong Observation Deck: The best view in town since its opening in 2011 -- and it's utterly breathtaking day or night (depending on the pollution). It's situated on the 100th floor of the city's tallest building -- the International Commerce Centre (ICC).