Event Detail


There's No Place Like it: Establishing Hong Kong as a Major Tourist Destination

Professor John Carroll, Department of History, University of Hong Kong
Monday, 13 Jan 2020
Drinks Reception 6.30 pm; Talk 7.30 pm
Please note that no blue denim, T-shirts, flip-flops or sportswear are permitted at the HK Club. For further details, please click https://www.thehongkongclub.hk/public/dress-code-policies.html
From the early 1950s onwards, Hong Kong became a major tourist destination where visitors could have a taste of Chinese culture and catch a glimpse of the China that lay beyond the ‘Bamboo Curtain’. Well towards 1997, tourism was one of the region’s most important industries and largest sources of foreign-exchange revenue.

Prof John Carroll explores how a range of organisations tried to promote Hong Kong as a unique cultural and geopolitical space: Chinese but not quite China, a harmonious blending of East and West and of old and new, and a modern, bustling metropolis coexisting side-by-side with the rural, quaint New Territories.  The most important of these organisations was the Hong Kong Tourist Association which, established in 1957, opened a string of overseas branch offices to help ‘sell’ Hong Kong. 

With help from airlines, travel agencies and hotels, the Tourist Association launched a series of campaigns to publicise Hong Kong regionally and globally.  Especially within the contexts of the Cold War and the post-war era, tourism was about more than economics and the movement of people: it became a way for Hong Kong to position itself within Asia and across the globe. 

Prof Carroll tells a Hong Kong story, but it is also part of a much larger global one that includes the role of tourism in post-war recovery, the rise of jet travel, and the proliferation of travel posters and other media.  
Professor John M Carroll is Professor of History and Associate Dean (Global) in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Hong Kong.  Having spent his childhood in Florida, Taiwan and Hong Kong, he received his BA from Oberlin College, his MA from the University of Iowa and his PhD from Harvard University.  Prof Carroll is the author of Edge of Empires, A Concise History of Hong Kong and the forthcoming Canton Days. This talk draws from his current book project, Destination Hong Kong.

Members of the RGS, their guests and others are most welcome to attend this event, which is HK$150 for RGS Members and HK$200 for guests and others.  This event is free of charge for our Student Members.

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