Bureaucracy is slowing proposals to develop vital new visitor attractions, a top tourism official said yesterday. Though co-operation has been growing between Government planners and the Hong Kong Tourist Association, proposals are still being passed from one department to the next, sometimes taking years to get approval. Large-scale plans such as a Film City theme park or a 2001 Exposition could be expedited by getting all the relevant authorities to discuss them at the same time, said Stanley Yip Cho-tat, the association's general manager for research and development. 'Major developments like this are a long process; it takes five or 10 years before anything can be done on the ground,' Mr Yip told the Post. 'What we need is to speed it up via a co-ordinating committee to give priority to consideration and approval of projects. They could resolve problems on the spot rather than having to send memos to different departments.' Both the theme park and exposition, now being considered by the Government, are seen as crucial by the association. The exposition plan has been sent to Exco, but Exco broke for its summer recess without a decision. 'Hong Kong has not had a new attraction for 26 years, since Ocean Park was completed. In that time, all our major competitors have been building new attractions, while Hong Kong has done nothing,' Mr Yip said. Even small-scale plans could be difficult. 'If we want to put a mark on the ground we would probably have to go through three or four government departments. The project may look simple, but getting approval is a tedious and laborious process,' he said. Though not criticising the number of checks each project has to go through, Mr Yip said his proposal to streamline the procedure had not yet elicited a reply from Government. There have been improvements in co-ordination since Exco listed tourism in its approval of the Territorial Development Strategy Review, which should mean the industry will be considered along with residential, commercial and industrial needs. Tourism legislator Howard Young said the Government had moved ahead with short-term plans such as cutting airport and hotel taxes, but was dragging its feet with longer-term solutions. 'The expo [plan] has been taken from the icebox and put in the deep freeze. I have a gut feeling that it is going to freeze to death.' A spokesman for the Economic Services Bureau, which oversees tourism policy, said the Government supported the association, giving it $500 million in the current financial year. 'If there is any [streamlining] proposal, the bureau has to look at it as it involves so many departments. If it's viable, I'm sure the bureau would be happy to put it into practice,' she said.