The opening of the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Kowloon East last month will turn the area into a business and tourism district like Tsim Sha Tsui, according to Maureen Fung Sau-yim, the general manager of Sun Hung Kai Properties' leasing department.
Banking on the influx of local and foreign visitors brought about by the change, SHKP will spend HK$100 million in the next six months upgrading its mall in Kowloon East's main shopping district.
Tsim Sha Tsui became a magnet for upmarket shops and first-class hotels after the Ocean Terminal opened about 50 years ago, said Fung.
"I believe that after the opening of the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, the same will happen in Kowloon East," said Fung, who manages APM, one of SHKP's shopping centres in Kwun Tong.
The government plans to develop Kowloon East, which includes the Kai Tak Development Area, Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay, into a central business district - the second after Central - and tourist area featuring commercial, retail, hotel and exhibition facilities.
The Kai Tak Cruise Terminal opened in June and immediately saw the arrival of 3,000 overseas passengers who stopped over in the city for 20 hours before sailing on to Shanghai. Shopping centres such as APM, Plaza Hollywood in Diamond Hill and Mikiki in San Po Kong extended their opening hours to cater for their arrival.
"In future, we will provide more services that are tailor-made for the needs of the visitors disembarking at the cruise terminal, such as money changers and outlets selling iconic Hong Kong gifts," said Fung.
APM will also arrange day trips to the mainland for the passengers.
"The number of cruise visitors arriving in Hong Kong is currently still small, but the new terminal has already drawn international visitors to Kowloon East," Fung said.
She added that SHKP would spend HK$100 million over the next six months to renovate APM. The developer would improve the landscaping surrounding the shopping centre and upgrade Wi-Fi services to attract younger shoppers from Hong Kong and the mainland.
Fung expected sales in the shopping centre to increase 15 to 20 per cent during the summer holiday compared with last year, boosted partly by the group's plan to bring 65 tours of 2,000 to 3,200 tourists each to the mall from Guangdong province.
Mainland shoppers could spend as much as HK$18 million in the mall, she said.