Stormy Hong Kong weather blamed for slump in visitors to cable car
25pc drop in guests to Lantau attraction despite a revamp costing HK$80m
The stormy weather has been blamed for a slump in visitors to the Ngong Ping 360 cable car on Lantau, which reopened earlier this month after a five-month revamp.
Numbers to the Tung Chung attraction dropped 25 per cent between June 5 and 18, to 40,000, compared with the same period, managing director Stella Kwan Mun-yee said. She said the bad weather had put people off.
During that period the typhoon No 8 signal was raised once and there were several amber and yellow rainstorm warnings.
Kwan stressed the company had devoted a lot of effort into ensuring a reliable service, as shown by the 99.87 per cent reliability rate last year – meaning there was less than one minute of delay for every eight hours of operation.
Frederick Ma Si-hang, chairman of the MTR Corp, which owns the cable car operator, said the attraction was important to the city’s tourism sector.
“It was named by The Daily Telegraph as one of the 10 amazing cable car rides around the world. This is no easy feat,” he said.
The revamped cable cars feature new features and discounts.
Stage 60, a theatre owned by the operator, launched a new performance – Secrets of Action Movies Revealed – featuring three young kung fu masters trained at the famous Shaolin Monastery in Henan province on mainland China.
The 5.7km cable car route stretches from Tung Chung to Ngong Ping Village, where there is a Buddhist-themed tourism facility and the nearby Big Buddha. It closed in January as its wire ropes had reached the end of their 10-year lifespan.
The project, which cost HK$80 million, included replacing a 10km haul rope, which pulls the cabins, and a 14km track rope which supports their weight.
Souvenir shops in Tung Chung and the village were also renovated to provide a better travel experience, the operator said.
Forty of the cable cars now feature 20 new designs by 10 local designers and artists.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the city’s return to Chinese sovereignty, Hong Kong residents will be offered a 30 per cent discount on round-trip tickets from June 26 to 30 and July 3 to 7.
By paying an extra HK$30 they can also enjoy the kung fu performance, which normally costs HK$118.