Retailers hope for longer rent-free period
Shop tenants welcomed the new management team of the Ngong Ping 360 cable car, with some saying they hoped their rent-free period could be extended when the tourist attraction reopened later this year.
Wilson Shao Shing-ming, the new head of commercial and business development, met tenants still fighting to survive in the deserted Ngong Ping village yesterday. He apparently made a good impression on business owners even without making them any promises.
James To Ka-ki, owner of a foot massage parlour whose business dropped by almost 90 per cent after the cable car service was suspended after a June 11 accident, said it felt better talking to a local.
'Previously, we didn't understand the Australians,' Mr To said, referring to officials of Skyrail-ITM, which used to manage the attraction. 'We told them our demands and we weren't sure they really got it. It's always better to talk to a local.'
Red Plus shoes and bags shop owner Ming Leung agreed, saying about the possible extension of the rent-free benefit: 'It shouldn't be for just two to three months but for however long the cable car services are shut down.'
Mr Shao said he had not yet raised this issue with the new team but said he would visit the tenants again soon to hear their demands.
Tim Cheung Kwok-wah, owner of a souvenir shop, said the new operator's initial focus should be on rebuilding the confidence of foreign tourists in Ngong Ping 360 because 'they are less exposed to negative media coverage these days and would be easier to convince'.