They hope to lure visitors at the theme park to the Pearl River Delta region Scenic outlying islands in Zhuhai will be promoted as the next stop for tourists to Hong Kong Disneyland, mainland officials say. Zhuhai officials said the opening of a new port in the Wanshan Islands at the end of last month and imminent launch of high-speed ferry services are expected to attract hundreds of thousands of tourists from Hong Kong. The vice-director of the Zhuhai Tourism Bureau, Zhang Meisheng, said Wanshan port would be the nearest border checkpoint on the mainland from where mainland tourists can travel to the Disneyland theme park, scheduled to open in 2005. Mr Zhang said the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Zhuhai Tourism Joint Conference, which was set up last October, would raise the idea of jointly promoting tours to Disneyland and the Wanshan islands. Tourism authorities from the three Pearl River Delta areas signed an agreement last year for further co-operation in promoting cross-border tourism. Situated in the estuary of the Pearl River, the Wanshan Islands consist of 104 islands and are just 10 nautical miles from Chek Lap Kok airport. Some of the islands, including Dongao and Wailingding, feature beaches and areas for fishing and diving. About 350,000 tourists visited the Wanshan Islands last year. Zhuhai authorities estimate that 200,000 passengers a year will travel to the outlying islands via Wanshan port, with the majority expected to come from Hong Kong. 'Tours to these scenic islands could be part of a grand Pearl River Delta holiday package for both Hong Kong, mainland and overseas tourists,'' Mr Zhang said. Liu Jianming, vice-director of the Wanshan Experimental Zone for the Offshore Development Commission, said ferry services from Wanshan port on Guishan Island to the China Ferry Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui would be launched in the next two weeks. Before the opening of Wanshan port, it took Hong Kong tourists 70 minutes to travel to Zhuhai city by ferry, and another 45 minutes for the boat trip from Zhuhai to the Wanshan Islands. A Hong Kong Tourism Board spokesman said any new idea which could boost tourism in the Pearl River Delta was welcome.