The year 2015-16 was another fruitful one for the LCSD in its efforts to improve the quality of life of Hong Kong and enhance the physical and cultural well-being of people.
Providing well-maintained and up-to-date facilities that meet the needs of our community remains our top priority. The Tiu Keng Leng Sports Centre and Public Library was one of the brand-new facilities that came into service during the year. We completed turf reconstruction at the Hong Kong Stadium, and carried out a major renovation of the Hong Kong Space Museum. We also pressed ahead with the upgrading and facelift of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, designed not only to increase the museum's exhibition space but also to enhance its visibility, accessibility, customer orientation and branding. Meanwhile, we were excited to begin construction of the new and much anticipated East Kowloon Cultural Centre.
We continued to stage many colourful arts and cultural events during the year. One of the highlights was the first Muse Fest in the summer of 2015, which offered a rich celebration of all 14 museums under the auspices of the LCSD through a wide array of fun-filled activities and enriching experiences for the community. As part of the Appreciate Hong Kong campaign, free admission to museums was offered in the month of January 2016, resulting in an increase of over 40% in the number of visitors when compared with that in January 2015. Another notable event was the exhibition celebrating the 100th Birthday of Professor Jao Tsung-I, which provided a fitting tribute to the work of this world-renowned sinologist, including his contributions to the fine arts and his research into and promotion of traditional Chinese culture. In this report you will find summaries of the many other superb exhibitions on display at our museums over the year.
Building on our past efforts, we strengthened our cultural exchanges with the Mainland during the year, including signing a letter of intent on co-operation with the Dunhuang Academy to promote Chinese culture. We were also delighted to establish the new Intangible Cultural Heritage Office, which is enhancing our ability to safeguard our ICH. The office is now utilising the Sam Tung Uk Museum as an exhibition base and resource centre.
Our world-class library system continued to step up its mobile connectivity and enhance access to its digital collections. During the year it launched a mobile version of the library website with a single sign-on function. Its key project 'Library at your fingertips', featuring library e-resources and mobile apps, won awards both locally and internationally, including a Merit Award under the category 'Government & Public Sector' at the Asia Pacific ICT Awards 2015.
Our rich and diverse selection of performing arts programmes was again very well received. Notable examples included the 10th anniversary edition of the World Cultures Festival, which featured fantastic performance gems from around the world. Separately, a 'Circus in Town' series brought many acclaimed circus acts from abroad to deliver thrilling new circus experiences to local audiences.
Our activities in the field of sports were equally exciting. To encourage the entire community to get involved in sports and to promote healthy living, we organised two significant local events. One was the 5th Hong Kong Games, which nurtured community spirit through fun-filled activities while providing a platform for athletes from different districts to test their skills in friendly but hard-fought local competitions. Sport For All Day, on the other hand, encouraged people from all walks of life to take a greater interest in sport and develop regular habits of physical exercise by offering free recreation programmes and free use of LCSD sports facilities.
To support the development of Hong Kong as an event capital, we hosted a number of international sports competitions at LCSD venues. These included the much anticipated World Cup qualifier football match between Hong Kong and the Mainland at Mong Kok Stadium in November 2015, and the UCI Track Cycling World Cup, a major international event held at the Hong Kong Velodrome in January 2016. We also supported our athletes, and particularly our younger athletes, at various national, regional and international competitions, such as the 1st National Youth Games, the National Youth 'Future Star' Sunshine Sports Games 2015, and the 13th National Winter Games.
We remained committed to promoting greening in the community. The very popular Hong Kong Flower Show proved once again a signature event, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors. During the year we took on wider greening responsibilities too, having been assigned to maintain some additional 150 000 roadside trees on unleased or unallocated Government land.
I have only been able to touch in the briefest manner on the wealth of activities we have undertaken in the past year. This Annual Report describes them in greater detail, giving a real flavour of the range of our work, which benefits many different areas, age groups and sectors of the community in Hong Kong. We now look forward to another year of rich and fulfilling work ahead.
Director of Leisure and Cultural Services