Time to check into the outdoors: New venue options in Hong Kong

Executive dining on a cruise, and team-building in the great outdoors — these are just some of the options for corporates looking for unique ways to engage.

Sea Kayak Hong Kong's packages focus on ocean conservation, education and adventure tours.
Sea Kayak Hong Kong's packages focus on ocean conservation, education and adventure tours. Photo Credit: Sea Kayak Hong Kong

With Zoom fatigue on the rise and an enduring fourth wave of coronavirus infections creating start-stop MICE momentum in Hong Kong, could a post-Covid world see a turn to the outdoors for cleaner, more open-air events?

If the number of corporate packages are any indication, then the answer is, yes.

Looking to inspire corporates hunting unique venue spaces are a few of Hong Kong’s open-air establishments, which hope to welcome prospective clients to book enticing outdoor packages.

Upscale boat charter FLOAT provides “an alternative yet very special and glamorous event space” which can be hired for corporate functions. Packages include cocktail receptions, the Symphony of Light Cruise or executive dining. 

Recent bookings (for events in Q3 and Q4) see the venue being used to host an 'at sea' art exhibition, as well as VIP events and a product showcase, according to a FLOAT spokesperson. 

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Upscale boat charter FLOAT is able to work host product launches, VIP events, company presentations, meetings and art exhibitions as well. Photo Credit: FLOAT

“As the yacht cruises out, the venue becomes very secluded and exclusive”, said Lawrence Kwan, assistant manager of Seayou Explorer Travel, which owns FLOAT. “We believe that there is a trend of hosting small gatherings and also finding chic spots away from crowds and the mundane."

Recently launching its Aberdeen1773 – Fishing Heritage Sampan & Houseboat Tour, Seayou Explorer also hopes to entice corporates on a guided tour while cruising around Aberdeen Fishing Village in a traditional sampan. The experience is offered in four languages: Cantonese, Mandarin, English and Japanese.

Another unique venue: West Kowloon Cultural District. One of the city’s latest arts and culture developments, the area has held several events and exhibitions. The popular Art Park, a vibrant, open-air patch of greenery, has been receiving many enquiries from different trades and initiatives, a spokesperson told M&C Asia.

"The Authority welcomes creative ideas from corporates in enlivening this gem of Hong Kong. We have different packages welcoming corporate events and functions at the Art Park," they said. 

“We have received quite a lot of enquiries for events upon the stabilisation of the Covid-19 pandemic situation," the spokesperson said, noting an uptick in smaller-scale events.

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Ovolo Southside's Komune Terrace offers a business meeting package which includes meeting facilities as well as all-day snacks and a cheeky happy hour. Photo Credit: Ovolo Group

Meanwhile team-building packages are available The Marquee, an open-air terrace with sea views at Repulse Bay. The package includes coffee breaks, an Asian lunch menu and coach transportation services.

Home-grown hotel brand, Ovolo, is preparing for post-pandemic corporate experiences at its Ovolo Southside property, which is home to the Komune Terrace. Here, meeting packages include venue hire, as well as all-day snacks and a cheeky happy hour.

Team-building in the great outdoors

Venturing into the great outdoors has been popular among locals looking to retreat outside the city — and corporates are playing into the idea.

Adventure and eco-tour operator Wild Hong Kong provides bespoke outdoor activities and team-building sessions for corporate clients, with unique options including dam building exercises, trail building, litter picking competitions and scavenger hunts that incorporate elements such as orienteering. “Corporates are most interested in the scavenger hunts, hiking and kayaking,” shared founder Rory Mackay.

Tourist attraction Noah’s Ark offers an outdoors adventure corporate training programme which focuses on team bonding through high rope climbing, rope knotting and sand castle making, among others. Corporates can weigh into the additional overnight stay package at the onsite Noah’s Ark Hotel and Resort.

Sea Kayak Hong Kong is an ocean conservation, education and adventure tour organisation which also offers team-building packages. Clients can choose from three categories: The Corporate Junket, for groups to share an out-of-office experience on the ocean; Non-Authentic Team-building, CSR-infused activities such as beach clean-ups; and Authentic Team-building, bespoke activities focused on ocean education and conservation.

Sea Kayak Hong Kong's head research and developer, Dave Wilson, believes demand for outdoor options is on the rise as locals become more eco-conscious. “A lot more people in Hong Kong are wanting to do more, and as a result, I would expect they would be looking to their company to organise [outdoor and eco-friendly events]." 

He added: “From our enquiries to-date this year, I expect a significant number of bookings to occur."

And there are more corporate packages in the pipeline. The outdoor tour operator also runs Ocean Literary International HK Limited, which educates businesses on environmental issues. “We have a wide range of ocean literacy packages that corporations can use to develop or enhance the sustainability SOPs within their organisations."

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