Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation Launches Hospitality Young Leaders Programme

10 local fresh graduates hired to support sustainable tourism and heritage conservation at UNESCO-awarded Tai O Heritage Hotel

16 July 2020 – The Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation (‘HCF’), which operates the UNESCO-awarded Tai O Heritage Hotel (‘Hotel’), furthers its efforts in supporting sustainable tourism and nurturing future leaders with the launch of the Hospitality Young Leaders Programme (‘Programme’). Commenced on 15 July 2020 and spanning six months, ten passionate graduates of universities and institutes in Hong Kong, with nine of them having completed study in tourism and conservation-related subjects, are hired and receiving valuable training in sustainable tourism, hospitality, heritage and cultural conservation.

The Programme has been well received as applicants treasure the meaningful opportunities and exposure amid the challenging business environment. Under the Programme, the participants will be able to equip themselves with valuable, practical knowledge through cross-departmental, on-the-job training at Hong Kong’s first UNESCO-awarded hotel. They will also support an array of community outreach and engagement activities, including docent tours and festivities to present the historical and architectural significance of the Hotel to local and overseas visitors. The six-month programme will conclude with a presentation by the young leaders to share their thoughts on promoting Tai O as a sustainable tourism destination.

‘This comprehensive programme provides a meaningful platform for aspiring young leaders to learn practical, professional skills about hospitality and conservation. It also helps the Hong Kong youth to understand our unique Hong Kong history and culture, connect to the community and contribute to our society in a positive way. In a globally challenging time like this, it is even more important to pass our positive values to the youth, help them to appreciate the diverse traditions and prepare them for the future. We are delighted to provide the opportunities, and I look forward to their contributions to our UNESCO-awarded heritage hotel and the community,’ remarks Mr Daryl Ng, Director of the Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation.

Cheryl Fung, a Tai O youngster, is one of the participants of the Programme. ‘As a local resident, I always enjoy the enchanting fishing village and its unique history. I want to share the beauty of the place where I was born and raised with more people. I had worked as a heritage programme helper at museum, temple and other heritage projects. This is a great opportunity to learn heritage and hospitality at Hong Kong’s first UNSECO-awarded hotel, it will enable me to have a better understanding of the industry as well as clearer direction for career development,’ remarks Cheryl.

Ronald Mak, a graduate of tourism and event management, is another participant of the Programme, and he looks forward to gaining a better understanding of Tai O and its historical significance. ‘I treasure the opportunity in this challenging time. In addition to acquiring practical knowledge in hotel management, I can learn to promote sustainable tourism and the beauty of Hong Kong to a wider audience. I look forward to supporting the community,’ says Ronald.

Committed to showcasing the heritage significance of historical projects, the HCF has revitalised and converted the 118-year-old Old Tai O Police Station, a Grade II historic building, into the nine-room Tai O Heritage Hotel, which commenced operation in March 2012. Operated as a not-for-profit social enterprise, surpluses are channelled to support site maintenance.

About the Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation
Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation Limited (HCF) is a not-for-profit organisation established by the Ng Family in March 2008. It identifies and showcases the heritage significance of historical projects. HCF holds the belief that conservation of cultural heritage helps the community to build a sense of identity and strengthen relationships in society. The primary objectives of HCF are to revitalise and conserve historic buildings, and to promote the appreciation and importance of cultural heritage to the community. Directors of HCF are enthusiastic supporters of community initiatives, and possess considerable experience in heritage buildings revitalisation projects. They have been actively involved in many heritage projects, including Tai O Heritage Hotel, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, The Fullerton Waterboat House, Clifford Pier and Far East Square.

About Tai O Heritage Hotel
Tai O Heritage Hotel, located in Shek Tsai Po Street, Tai O and surrounded by lush greenery, has been transformed from the 118-year-old Old Tai O Police Station, built in 1902 and graded as a Grade II historic building by the Antiquities Advisory Board. The hotel is part of Batch I of Hong Kong SAR Government Development Bureau’s Revitalising Historic Buildings through Partnership Scheme. Opened in March 2012 and operated as a not-for-profit social enterprise, Tai O Heritage Hotel provides free guided tours daily for the general public and charitable organisations with the aim of heightening awareness of the conservation of historic buildings. It is home to nine elegantly decorated rooms, the Heritage Interpretation Centre and the glass-roofed open-view restaurant Tai O Lookout. The Hotel has won the Award of Merit at UNESCO 2013 Asia-Pacific Cultural Heritage Awards and has been voted as ‘Asia’s Leading Heritage Hotel 2016’ in World Travel Awards™. It has received more than 1.2 million visitors and guests since opening.