Speech by Mr Charles Lee (Chairman of Hong Kong Arts Festival Society Ltd) at the 2009 HKAF Kick-off Press Conference

October 15th, 2008

Friends from the media, participating artists, members of the Hong Kong Arts Festival Committees, and friends from the arts and business communities, thank you for joining us here today.

I am proud to introduce the 37th Hong Kong Arts Festival 2009 (HKAF). This annual celebration of the arts is a major highlight in the Asia Pacific region, and one that Hong Kong eagerly anticipates. HKAF is a glittering cultural event that puts the spotlight on our city and draws many international visitors. Each year HKAF presents top international artists and ensembles, as well as provides a platform to showcase local performers.

The 37th HKAF features some of the best international and local creative genius in a spectacular line up of performances. We are able to present such top-rank programmes thanks to the support of many people and organisations. First and foremost, I must express appreciation and gratitude to our main subventing organisations – the Hong Kong SAR Government through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, and the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. We are indeed indebted to both organisations for their continued patronage.

In addition, HKAF deeply appreciates the generous support of numerous corporate sponsors, arts organisations and individuals. This community support is crucial to sustain the high standards to which we aspire, and which Hong Kong deserves. This year we are fortunate to stage events in several new venues specially made available for HKAF performances. We are able to present performances in the New Territories and several commercial buildings. This valuable addition to our venues is an exciting development, and I am grateful for the support and new opportunities offered.

Our budget for the 37th HKAF is over $78 million. We have received a subvention of $18.65 million from the Government through the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. The contribution from the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust is about $8 million. HKAF hopes to raise approximately $16.6 million through sponsorship, donations and the Young Friends Scheme, as well as a target of about $32 million in ticket sales. Of course, we will endeavour to improve on these projections.

HKAF continues its aim of nurturing audiences of the future. Thanks to the support of numerous corporate and individual donors, we will continue to offer half-price tickets to local students and to extend our outreach activities, including special activities and performance opportunities, through the Young Friends Scheme.

I would also like to express our appreciation to the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) and the Information Services Department (ISD) for their continued assistance in promoting HKAF.

Thank you once again for taking the time to be here. In a few minutes you will see a sampling of the programmes presented in the 37th HKAF. We sincerely appreciate your support in bringing these programme information to our audiences, and look forward to seeing you at many HKAF performances.

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