Past looms large in latest free tours

Bethanie Chapel and Kang Yung Study Hall are among the stops of a new round of Spend-to-Redeem local tours by the Tourism Board, with around 2,000 tours to be launched today.

The new round covers five themes, with history & heritage added to existing ones, namely lively culture, neighborhoods, scenic harbor and gastro-fantasies

The first batch of 180 itineraries include Bethanie Chapel, built in 1875, and Kang Yung Study Hall, erected in the early Qing dynasty.

Another batch of 170 itineraries will be announced this month, making up a total of over 350 itineraries with 64,000 quotas.

People who saved receipts from spending at least HK$800 at local physical retail or dining outlets can book a free tour - or pay HK$200 more as a topup for premium tours - with tour operators starting at 10 am today, on a first-come-first-served basis.

Itinerary details are available on the board's website. A maximum of two receipts - issued on or after October 20 - can be used.

Those with tours confirmed must submit receipts and pay a HK$100 deposit to tour operators.

They have to fulfill Vaccine Pass requirements and have a rapid antigen test on the day of the tour.

Tour operators have to strictly comply with anti-epidemic measure set by the industry.

Like in the past, all tours include docent services, round-trip transport, a meal, basic insurance coverage and a visit to at least two attractions, while premium tours come with a theme park visit or a five-star hotel buffet.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said in his policy address HK$600 million has been earmarked for a three-year Cultural and Heritage Sites Local Tour Incentive Scheme, which ends next November.

Travel agents may receive cash incentives - in both basic and advanced tours - ranging from HK$200 to HK$400 for each participant they serve during such tours, with a quota of up to 1,000 and 200 participants, respectively.

Meanwhile, Ocean Park is offering free admission from 6.30 pm to 9 pm every Saturday, as its new soiree Chill All Night starts this week.

Visitors can watch a multimedia show - namely Soul of the Ocean & Visions of Hong Kong, and DJ and K-pop dance performances.