Local tourism keeps 'Symbol of Hong Kong' junk boat afloat
HONG KONG (Reuters) - The Dukling, a traditional Chinese junk boat frequently spotted around Hong Kong's picturesque Victoria Harbour, has readjusted its tour routes to survive the coronavirus pandemic, now mainly catering to locals. Built in 1955, the boat was once owned by a fisherman who lived on the vessel with his family.
HONG KONG (Reuters) - The Dukling, a traditional Chinese junk boat frequently spotted around Hong Kong's picturesque Victoria Harbour, has readjusted its tour routes to survive the coronavirus pandemic, now mainly catering to locals.
Built in 1955, the boat was once owned by a fisherman who lived on the vessel with his family. It has been used for harbour tours since the 1980s, and the current operator has run the service since 2014.
Its 12 staff serve mainly foreign tourists looking to see Hong Kong's glitzy skyline from a different angle.
But with the border all but shut for non-residents for roughly the past 10 months, Dukling Limited's director of business development, Charlotte Li, says foreign clients are virtually non-existent.
"This disease has had a massive impact on the entire planet and Hong Kong is really dependent on trade and tourism,” said Li, seated in the wooden boat.
Visitor arrivals have been down 96-99% year-on-year for every month since February. At its peak Hong Kong received almost 7 million visitors per month.
Still, Li has preserved about a third of the business by offering tours in Cantonese rather than English and sailing to more distant Hong Kong locations to attract more local residents.
“My kids love boats," said Edmund Kwok, a 36-year-old engineer, on a tour with his wife and two children.
Traditional Chinese junk boats were originally used for fishing and transportation. Tourism has prompted more such boats to float across Victoria harbour, but many are believed to be just replicas.
“Every piece of wood and every bit of furniture here has its history," Li said of the Dukling. “This boat really represents Hong Kong.”
(Reporting by Aleksander Solum; Writing by Marius Zaharia. Editing by Gerry Doyle)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.