More than 5,000 moderately priced, family-oriented hotel rooms will be needed for the 2005 opening of the Disney theme park, tourism industry leaders have warned. The lack of suitable accommodation and the threat of a tourism brain drain are among obstacles to be tackled at a two-day Disney conference starting at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre today. The $22.5 billion joint venture at Penny's Bay on Lantau by the Government and Walt Disney is expected to create 18,400 new jobs and attract five million visitors, including 3.4 million tourists, in the first year of opening. Conference organisers have labelled the Disney project a wake-up call to the industry and service sectors in Hong Kong. Elisabeth Bosher, of Landrum & Brown Worldwide Services, which is organising the conference on behalf of the Tourism Commission, said: 'Hotels can't just produce thousands of extra hotel rooms overnight. There are other areas where planning is needed, such as a whole range of transportation modes which will need to work together.' Only about 30 per cent of hotels in Hong Kong are in the medium and low price range, and account for about 35,000 rooms. Douglas Barber, vice-president of the global chain Century International Hotels and a speaker at the conference, said an extra 5,000 rooms - or 12 new hotels - would be needed in the next four years to cope with the estimated number of visitors that will be attracted by the Disney theme park. It would bring the total amount of hotel rooms in Hong Kong to 40,000. 'Visitors are not expecting five-star hotels and certainly don't have the budget. The demand will be for hotels in the mid-tariff or 3.5 to four-star range,' he said. He anticipated most tourists would be from the mainland, and about 22 per cent from Taiwan. James Lu Shien-hwai, executive director of the Hotels Association, who will also be addressing the conference, said the figure of 5,000 additional rooms was realistic, but could vary. 'Demand for hotel rooms will depend on occupancy rates at the time, how many people would be sharing rooms, their length of stay and the availability of other types of accommodation,' he said. Mr Lu advocated a 'Tokyo Disneyland model', where almost all hotels encourage visitors to Disneyland. Professor Ray Pine, of the department of Hotel and Tourism Management at Polytechnic University, warned that training staff to fill tourism jobs must start immediately. 'We're about to be hit with a tourism brain drain as skilled people move to emerging markets such as mainland China,' he said. 'We're handling things okay at the moment but if we look ahead to the 57 million visitors expected in Hong Kong by 2020 compared to 13 million currently, problems will arise.'