New cruise terminal 'shouldn't be delayed'

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 20 January, 2004, 12:00am

The government should come up with short- and long-term plans to build berths for cruise liners that are too big for the Ocean Terminal, Executive Councillor Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said yesterday.

The call by Ms Chow, who is also head of the Tourism Board, came after the South China Morning Post revealed yesterday that one of the world's biggest cruise ships, the Sapphire Princess, will have to berth at the Kwai Chung container terminal when it visits Hong Kong for one day in April next year.

The 113,000-tonne liner, due to be launched in May, will carry 2,670 passengers and 1,200 crew.

She said the government should give a clear signal to the industry about the location of a new cruise ship terminal.

'The call for a new terminal has dragged on for a long time and it is already very late,' Ms Chow said.

'We are losing our competitive edge if we can't host bigger cruise liners.

'If Hong Kong is to develop itself into a hub for cruise liners, you need to have a plan because the industry needs time to do promotion to attract them here.

'But now, nobody knows if or when we are having a new terminal.

'How can the industry promote Hong Kong and assure cruise companies that we have enough facilities to accommodate them?'

The Town Planning Board had proposed a cruise terminal with a museum and hotel at Kai Tak, southeast Kowloon, on a 31.6-hectare site, of which 9.7 hectares was supposed to come from harbour reclamation work.

But after the Court of Final Appeal ruled earlier this month that any future reclamation in Victoria Harbour must be warranted by an over-riding public need, the plan to reclaim the Kai Tak site was put on hold.