Lawmakers from across the political spectrum on Monday questioned the justification for injecting HK$5.8 billion of taxpayers’ money into Hong Kong Disneyland’s expansion project, with some urging the city to diversify its tourist offerings. But commerce minister Greg So Kam-leung cited the government’s control of the Lantau park through 53 per cent of its shareholding, insisting that the authorities must “have a say” in the park’s future development. The administration had no plans to reduce its stake or exit the investment, he added. Taxpayers to pay more than half of HK$11 billion cost for Frozen and Marvel superhero attractions to boost Hong Kong Disneyland The three-hour panel discussion in the Legislative Council was the first time the government had presented the HK$10.9 billion expansion plan to lawmakers. “The future development of Disneyland will have to be coordinated with the government’s policies to promote tourism,” So said. This could create job opportunities and boost business for retailers, hotels and restaurants. “We think it is necessary for the government to reserve the discourse rights on the development of the park,” he said. The commerce secretary’s explanation was challenged by both pro-establishment and pan-democratic lawmakers, with many doubting if any decision on the park had ever gone in favour of the government rather than Disney. When asked by the Democratic Party’s Hui Chi-fung if the government had ever “won” a business decision over Disney, So said: “Yes, there have been such cases ... but they were business secrets. It would be inappropriate to talk about what happened in the broad discussions here.” Don’t waste our money on Disney, give us waterfront parks for all Other lawmakers urged the government to equally distribute its funds to diversed tourism projects, especially those with local features. “You can’t put all your eggs in the same basket ... How much has the government invested in other tourism projects?” asked the Federation of Trade Unions’ Luk Chung-hung, whose motion to establish a government-led fund to subsidise attractions with local features was also passed at the panel meeting. “The problem of Hong Kong is it needs more diversity,” said Professor Brian King, associate dean at Polytechnic University’s School of Hotel and Tourism Management. He said the Lantau park was one of the city’s cutting-edge tourism attractions compared with many regional rivals and should be constantly renewed. With the government being the biggest shareholder, it would be easier for it to develop Lantau Island in the future, King said. The six-year expansion, due to start in 2018, will feature zones based on the blockbuster Frozen and Marvel superhero films, as well as the transformation of the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle. So estimated that the expansion, together with the completion of the cross-border bridge to Macau and Zhuhai, would help attract up to 9.5 million visitors a year by 2025 – up from 6.8 million in 2015.