World congress on parks and recreation opens in Hong Kong
Hong Kong (HKSAR) - The Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing, said today (November 15) that hosting the International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration (IFPRA) World Congress Hong Kong 2010 had given the territory a golden opportunity to learn more about the latest developments in the provisionof services for parks, recreation and tourism, all of which were crucial to Hong Kong's capacity to strive for further community growth and progress.
Mr Tsang made the remarks while officiating at the opening ceremony for the Congress at the Hong Kong City Hall. Other guests at the ceremony included the outgoing IFPRA President, Mr Rob Small; IFPRA President Elect Mr Torgeir Sorensen; and the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung.
The Congress, jointly organised by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the Hong Kong Recreation Management Association, will be held from today till November 18. This is the second time Hong Kong has hosted the Congress - the previous time was in 1992.
"The Congress' theme is 'Quality Services - Parks, Recreation and Tourism¡¦.
This will provide an excellent forum for exchange and sharing of knowledge on a wide range of subjects which present both challenges as well as great potential for development," Mr Tsang said, adding that the gathering would also enable stakeholders to build and renew networks with peers, strengthening common ground for the provision of better services.
"In the midst of our urban area, we have also put in place extensive provision of parks, playgrounds, indoor and outdoor recreational facilities and other public open spaces to cater for the many different needs of the population for leisure pursuits and physical activities. "
"With our compact city environment and convenient transportation infrastructure, Hong Kong people enjoy easy access to parks, leisure space and countryside. We can always take a leisurely stroll away from our hectic life to pursue different kinds of recreational activities," said Mr Tsang.
He noted that tourism was an important contributor to the territory's gross domestic product.
With its easily accessible countryside and the recent opening of the Hong Kong Geopark revealing some of the most spectacular geological features in our territory, Hong Kong had much to offer to foster the development of "Green Tourism".
The four-day Congress, based at Hong Kong City Hall, features a series of keynote addresses, parallel sessions, poster-viewing and trade exhibitions as well as visits to the territory's best known parks and recreational facilities.
The first day of the Congress includes a keynote address on "The Sustainability of Major Events : Issues for Public Policy" delivered by Professor Christopher Auld from the business school of Griffith University in Australia. Also taking place today are more than 20 parallel sessions with presentations by leading experts on a wide variety of topics including case studies on greening and design of parks in different countries/regions, Hong Kong's hosting of the 2009 East Asian Games and heritage preservation in the city, as well as the promotion of sustainable tourism in diverse places, including Antarctica.
In the coming days, there will be another two keynote speeches and more than 10 parallel sessions on different topics.
The IFPRA is a renowned international non-profit organisation comprising representatives from over 50 countries/regions who are professionals in the fields of parks, recreation, amenities and leisure services. Its main aims and objectives cover the advancement of parks and recreation, cultural and leisure services through representation and dissemination of information, adoption of international training and qualification standards, promotion of research, and the establishment of national recreation and park associations.
The IFPRA World Congress is held every three years in international cities around the world.
The last two world congresses were held in Hamamatsu, Japan, in 2004 and in Dublin, Ireland, in 2007.
The International Federation of Parks and Recreation Administration (IFPRA) World Congress Hong Kong 2010 is supported by government departments and organisations including the Architectural Services Department, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Hong Kong Housing Authority, Hong Kong Tourism Board and Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects.
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