Promoting Sustainable Tourism and Cultural Heritage Conservation


Tai O Heritage Hotel

 
Over half of the staff working at Tai O Heritage Hotel are residents of Lantau Island or Tai O fishing village with some employed as guides for eco and cultural experience tours.

INTRODUCTION

The historic building once housed a police station and during the renovation into its current form, the original cannons, searchlight and guard towers were restored. This rejuvenated the history of Tai O – a traditional fishing village. Running as a non-profit social enterprise, Tai O Heritage Hotel commits to engaging the public in bolstering Tai O’s community, to achieve synergy with other local facilities and to promote heritage conservation. Daily guided tours are conducted for the public and Charity Groups who visit the Hotel. The Hotel also collaborated with the Tai O Community to host the annual Tai O Water Village Wedding Parade and Tai O Food Expo. In addition, a two-day open house at the Hotel was organised every year. All these efforts are to engage the public in preserving the rich culture and traditions of the Tai O Village.

FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGY

Providing long-term employment opportunities for Tai O inhabitants
Tai O Heritage Hotel has been a key part of the community, providing long-term employment opportunities for Tai O inhabitants and nearby residents. Over half of the staff working at Tai O Heritage Hotel are residents of Lantau Island or Tai O fishing village with some employed as guides for eco and cultural experience tours. Through attracting young local talents to join the hospitality industry, the hotel hopes to retain the young Tai O residents to work on the island, thereby sustaining the growth of the Tai O community.

Contribute to stronger communal support for local elderly members
Tai O Heritage Hotel has observed the need to develop stronger communal support for the elderly in Tai O. Therefore, the hotel has collaborated with local charity groups to conduct regular home care visits and services to the elderly in the downtown and remote villages of Tai O. The hotel also provides professional home cleaning services to elderly people and facilitated social workers to extend their services to elderly people in remote villages of Tai O. These efforts would assist Tai O elderly to “age in place” (i.e. to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level)

Provide Interactive Cultural Tourism Programmes for the public
To encourage active learning of the importance of heritage in the public, especially the youth groups, the Hotel organises Charity Tours, Integrated Arts Programmes, Heritage Excursions and Interactive Cultural Tourism Workshops on a frequent basis. The hotel also actively engages in academic exchanges and shares experience in heritage conservation in regional/international conferences and tours with professionals, officials and the media.

ACHIEVEMENT AND IMPACT

Tai O Heritage Hotel has become a popular retreat for the people of Hong Kong and a must-see stop for weekend day-trippers. More than 770,000 people have visited the hotel since it opened in 2012. In addition, the Tai O Heritage Hotel received a number of local and public recognitions in its heritage and sustainability efforts, including UNESCO Asia-Pacific 2013 Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation; honoured by the American Institute of Architects Hong Kong Chapter with a Citation Award in 2014. In October 2015, Tai O Heritage Hotel received the ‘2015 Sustainable Hotel Award – Sustainable Destinations’, presented by the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP). The Hotel also received ‘the 2015 HR Innovation Award – Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility Practices (Silver Award) from HR Magazine.

FUTURE DIRECTION

From Mr. Daryl Ng to every team member of the Tai O Heritage Hotel, they believe that by conserving this precious cultural heritage, the team could help the Tai O community in building a sense of identity. In this connection, the team strives to join hands with the Tai O Local Community to support its historic preservation and celebrate its traditions. In the upcoming months and years, the team endeavours to step up their efforts in promoting Hong Kong’s sustainable tourism through organising a range of cultural programmes and host an array of community projects such as Hiking Tours Packages, Sustainable Farming Project, and sponsoring a Study Center at the Tai O Village to provide free educational workshops for the Tai O Families and Youth Group.
Tai O Heritage Hotel, graded as a Grade II historic building by the Antiquities Advisory Board Hong Kong, was the Tai O Police Station constructed in 1902. It is now home to nine colonial-style rooms, a Heritage Interpretation Centre and a glass-roofed open view restaurant. Through Hong Kong Heritage Conservation Foundation Limited (“HCF”), a non-profit-making organisation, founded in 2008 by the Ng Teng Fong family (major shareholder of Sino Hotels Holdings Ltd), Tai O Heritage Hotel (“Hotel”) has been conserved and revitalised in 2012. The Hotel, operated as a social enterprise, is part of the Hong Kong Government’s “Revitalising Historic Buildings Through Partnership Scheme”.