Five of six hotels due to open next year have been delayed and may be scrapped because of the slump in tourism. Three proposed projects in Central and one each in Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui had been postponed indefinitely since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, architects and developers confirmed. The Catering and Hotels Industries Employees General Union last night estimated the hotels would have created 900 to 1,000 jobs. The five projects, from middle of the range to luxury, would have added about 900 rooms to the hotel sector, the Tourism Board said. Now, only an 831-room hotel in Ma On Shan being developed by the Cheung Kong group is on schedule for completion next year. The sites of two proposed hotels in Wyndham Street, Central, and Pilkem Street, Tsim Sha Tsui, are now being used as car parks. They were scheduled for completion in the middle of next year, offering a total of 396 rooms. Architects for the Wyndham Street project, AGC Design, said the proposed 28-storey, $330 million hotel had been put on hold and the land might eventually be used for an office building. 'We are considering cancelling the project altogether,' an AGC spokesman said. The Pilkem Street developer, Lawison Textile, said it did not know when its site would be built on. A 20-plus-storey unoccupied building and an empty construction site, both in Queen's Road Central, are all that are left of two planned hotels that would have provided a further 262 rooms. Renovation and building work were due to have been completed next year but it is understood the work has been postponed without a deadline. Another empty 25-storey building in Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, has stood idle following a bank freeze imposed last year as it is one of more than a dozen SAR properties owned by alleged crime kingpin Lai Changxing, who is in Vancouver fighting an attempt to extradite him to the mainland. The Leighton Road site, which was to have been named the Starra Hotel with 240 rooms, is seeking a buyer and developer. The executive director of the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners, Michael Li Hon-shing, said: 'Business has not been good even before September 11, now it is much worse. The market is shrinking and room rates are going down.' The overall hotel occupancy rate fell to 74 per cent in September, the lowest for nine months, compared with 83 per cent during the same month last year, the Tourism Board said. Mr Li said business at top hotels was down 20 per cent and rooms rates had fallen 30 to 40 per cent, while medium-range hotels fared better, enjoying a steady supply of mainland tourists, but their rates had also dropped 10 per cent. Tourism Board chairwoman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee said: 'The projects' delay will have an impact on jobs, and the future direction of the tourism market is very unclear.'