Tenders reopen today for the development of a new cruise terminal at Kai Tak after the first attempt failed to catch the attention of an eligible operator two years ago.
An advisory committee will also be set up to strengthen Hong Kong's position as a regional cruise hub and to make interim berthing arrangements for cruise vessels before the new terminal opens in 2012.
The government announced yesterday that bidders were expected to have a minimum of three years' direct experience in running a cruise terminal with at least 200,000 arriving and departing passengers per year.
Situated at the tip of the old Kai Tak airport runway, the new terminal will include customs and baggage handling areas and three landscaped decks.
The contract for the terminal will run for 50 years, and the first berth will open in February 2012.
The government will adopt a two-pronged tender approach, with a 70 per cent weighting given to the quality aspects and 30 per cent to the land premium aspects in assessing the bids.
The tender assessment panel, to be chaired by the commissioner for tourism and on which other government representatives will sit, will assess the technical and managerial aspects of the bids.
The panel will also take advice from international experts and independent advisers, including lawmaker Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung and representatives from the Institute of Architects and Institute of Engineers.
The tendering process is expected to close on March 7, with the winner announced in the second quarter of next year. To make the terminal a regional hub, the government will set up an advisory committee on the cruise industry to seek advice on improving areas such as the supply of workers for the cruise market and working with neighbouring coastal provinces to develop cruise itineraries.
Massimo Brancaleoni, vice-president of Asia-Pacific operations for the Costa Crociere cruise line, said the Italian company supported the new terminal project and was monitoring developments very closely.
'We are currently carefully evaluating how to interact with this opportunity,' Mr Brancaleoni said.
Based in the northern Italian port of Genoa, Costa Crociere is the first international cruise operator authorised to offer itineraries with ships departing from mainland ports.
Its 800-passenger Costa Allegra is the only vessel in its 12-strong fleet to serve Asia, sailing from Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong. The company, founded in 1854, is Europe's largest cruise operator.
The first phase of the new cruise terminal at Kai Tak is scheduled for completion by 2012
The number of cruise liners the city would be able to host simultaneously in 2012: 5