Cruise terminal a long-term investment
Some people have suggested that the new cruise terminal at Kai Tak will make possible the revitalisation of East Kowloon, while sceptics have expressed concerns that the facility could be underutilised.
It will be good for the city and for East Kowloon's economy, especially the food and retail sectors.
Tourists disembarking from the cruise liners berthed at the terminal are bound to visit nearby restaurants to enjoy the local cuisine. And many of them, if they have only a short time in the city, are likely to stay in the area when shopping.
In addition, the government plans further infrastructure projects to tie in with the terminal, in particular, a proposed monorail. This will make it much easier for visitors to travel out of, and back to, East Kowloon and deal with concerns that the area is too far from many popular tourist spots elsewhere in the city. There will also be an improvement in other transport facilities at the site.
A sophisticated cruise terminal enhances Hong Kong's international image. In the past, with insufficient capacity at Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui and many vessels being too large, shipping companies would not call at Hong Kong. Some of these larger ships, if they did come, had to berth at the container port in Kwai Chung, which many tourists would regard as an inappropriate location.
It has been argued that the Kai Tak cruise terminal would be underused.
I think we will see an increase in the number of cruise passengers in Hong Kong. We have to be ready to deal with that increase and look at the long-term picture.
The government was right to back the construction of the cruise terminal, because in the long term it is an essential component of the revitalisation of East Kowloon and helps to retain Hong Kong's high-profile international image.
Lewis Yeung, Tseung Kwan O