Staying afloat in hard times

Central Station | 24 Nov 2020

Even a 65-year-old junk has to adapt in the face of the changes wrought by the coronavirus.

The Dukling, Hong Kong's most familiar junk - an original, unlike many such craft in local waters - and frequently spotted around Victoria Harbour has been used for tours since the 1980s.

And most of its business came from parties of overseas tourists until the virus sailed in.

Now the company that handles the Dukling has readjusted its tour routes to sail to more distant Hong Kong locations, and it offers outings with Cantonese rather than English commentaries to attract more locals.

That's working to some extent, says the operator's director of business development, Charlotte Li, and it has managed to retain about a third of its previous level of business.

One contented seagoer is Edmund Kwok, a 36-year-old engineer who took a tour recently with his wife and two children. "My kids love boats," he said.

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