The ground breaking ceremony of the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal was held on Dec. 23, marking a significant milestone in developing Hong Kong into a regional cruise hub.
Upon the commissioning of the new cruise terminal, together with the Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong will have a total of four berths for cruise vessels. Conveniently located, these terminal facilities can berth cruise vessels of different types and sizes, providing high quality infrastructure for the long term development of the cruise industry in Hong Kong and in the region.
The ground breaking ceremony was officiated by the CEO of the new terminal, Donald Tsang. Other officiating guests were the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Rita Lau; Secretary for Development, Carrie Lam; Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (commerce, industry and tourism), Yvonne Choi; Permanent Secretary for Development, Mak Chai-kwong; Acting Commissioner for Tourism, Joey Lam; and Acting Director of Civil Engineering and Development, Adrian Ng.
The government will fund, design and build the cruise terminal, and lease the terminal to a cruise terminal operator, while retaining ownership of the site and the terminal. The new cruise terminal will have two berths with no air draft limit. Upon completion, it will be able to berth the largest cruise vessels, according to the Hong Kong government.
The government is developing the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal through two contracts. The first is for the construction of the berthing facilities; the second is for the design and building of the terminal building.
The site work for the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal is being carried out by the Civil Engineering and Development Department of Hong Kong. The scope of the work comprises the construction of a sloping 1,100-meter seawall and a 35-meter wide and 850-meter long apron area for berthing of cruise vessels of different sizes and capacities, as well as dredging to allow maneuvering and berthing of mega vessels.
The first berth is expected to commence operation in mid-2013; the second berth will be operational in 2014.
The government is currently considering tenders for the design-and-build contract for the terminal building. Construction is expected to begin in 2010 and be completed in 2014/15.
Apart from hardware development, the government has also continued to strengthen liaisons with the cruise market and neighboring ports, according to a prepared statement, as well as to improve the service standards to enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong in the regional cruise market.
An advisory committee on cruise industry, consisting of representatives from the Hong Kong Tourism Board, four international cruise operators and the tourism trade, has been established to advise the government on policies to develop Hong Kong as a regional cruise hub. The committee focuses on strengthening cooperation with mainland provinces to develop cruise itineraries, promoting cruise tourism in the region, and encouraging manpower training in the cruise market and related industries.
In addition, the central government introduced a measure in April to allow mainland tour groups travelling to Taiwan to sail on vessels homeporting in Hong Kong. The first sailing was completed in August. About 20 cruises from Hong Kong to Taiwan with a total capacity of some 30 000 passengers will be launched in 2010.