Big players push Lantau as Pearl Delta hub

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 March, 2012, 12:00am
 

Better transport and 'repositioning' could transform Lantau from a backwater into a tourism and convention hub, it was argued yesterday.

Representatives of major operators on the island, including Hong Kong Disneyland and Ngong Ping 360, told a public forum at Polytechnic University that Lantau had the potential to become a recreational and convention centre for the Pearl River Delta region, if only visitors could be encouraged to stay.

The operators have formed the Lantau Economic Development Alliance to co-ordinate long-term development. The alliance said that despite major transport routes linking Lantau to Hong Kong Island, few people stayed on to have fun.

The alliance's honorary secretary, Li Yan-tai, said: 'Lantau needs repositioning. Now it's just a place for people who work at the airport to stay.'

Thomas Chan Man-hung, head of the university's China Business Centre, which hosted the forum, said that despite government plans to develop Lantau into a tourism centre, Tung Chung still only had half the residential population that the authorities had aimed for. There were also no studies into how the island could tap into the region's growth.

'In the face of increasing connectivity to the mainland, Lantau has the potential to become a major hub of the delta,' he said.

Up to 170,000 people a day went to the airport or Disneyland, and there could be strong economic benefits if they could be diverted to other parts of Lantau, Chan said.

Lantau district councillor Chau Chuen-heung said the government should set up a cross-departmental unit to find new directions for the island. 'The government needs to have long-term vision. It's very short-sighted right now,' she said.

Chau said the authorities could look to Stanley's vibrant market and restaurants as an example.

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