Lantau has latest in fly-drive holidays

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 March, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 March, 2006, 12:00am

Nine Eagles Golf Course is part of the $2b SkyCity entertainment hub at Chek Lap Kok

Developing a $100 million nine-hole golf course at Chek Lap Kok Airport has turned out to be a cost-saving measure for the Airport Authority.

Located to the east of the passenger terminal, Skycity Nine Eagles Golf Course is scheduled to open towards the end of the year.

The Airport Authority's commercial director, Hans Bakker, described the golf course as a creative solution to make use of the 11 hectares of land not needed at present for development, such as an expansion of the passenger terminal.

He said it was more cost effective to co-operate with an investor, King Power, to open a golf course than to maintain idle land.

'There's a big piece of land we don't need yet. We could've spent millions of dollars on landscaping or found a partner to invest $100 million on a golf course,' he said.

Mr Bakker added that the golf course was meant to be temporary and the piece of land would be recovered for development should the need arise. However, he said the golf course would be there for eight or nine years.

The golf course will be the city's first nine-hole golf course featuring an 'island green'.

Celebrities and VIPs will take part in a charity tournament to mark its opening.

The course is part of the $2 billion SkyCity project, which the authority hopes will help the airport maintain a competitive edge in the region. 'We have a home market of 6.8 million, but we have to look for other markets,' Mr Bakker said.

It was important to find new ways to generate income, but 'money isn't the only drive. First we satisfy the needs of passengers ... and automatically you'll make money'.

Another attraction of the project is Asia Hollywood, which is intended to help promote the Hong Kong film industry. The concept is that a visitor to the airport can choose a scene from one of their favourite movies and, with the help of technology, 'appear' in the scene and play a role before the cameras.

'You can play your own role in a movie and you can take the CD home with yourself in the movie,' Mr Bakker said. 'It's an entertainment centre. The operator has a lot of celebrities under contract. So when a celebrity arrives they will have their press conferences there.' He would not say any more about the entertainment centre or disclose who the business partners are, since negotiations are continuing. More information will be announced in May, he said.

SkyCity will also comprise the AsiaWorld Expo convention centre - already in operation - in which the authority has a 10 per cent stake; a four-star, 700-room hotel, the airport's third; and the 38,000 square metre SkyPlaza, with 134 shops and restaurants and a 4-D cinema, beneath two office towers.

The complex's SkyPier will provide connections to Pearl River Delta cities and airports.

The airport has been voted the world's best by passengers for five years running. Last year passenger traffic rose by 3 million year on year, to 40 million. Still, Mr Bakker said Chek Lap Kok faced a challenge from competitors in the region, such as the airports in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Singapore.