Operator hits back at Kai Tak cruise terminal criticism

Local | 11 Jan 2019 12:00 pm

The operator of the Kai Tak cruise terminal has hit back at criticism from lawmakers that the multibillion-dollar wharf complex resembles a ghost town.

Jeff Bent, managing director of Worldwide Cruise Terminals, said the facility could appear isolated because it was built six years ahead of schedule, while other development on the old airport site was lagging four years behind – a total gap of 10 years, RTHK reported.

"People have expectations of the cruise terminal being something it's not," Bent told the public broadcaster.

"[Some] 96 percent of the area we manage is cruise terminal; four percent is for leasing, much like in a museum, for cafes or gift shops. It's not a bona fide attraction itself.

"There's supposed to be a tourism node in the district to attract visitors. But the terminal is a cruise terminal, it's extremely busy and successful for what it is."

He said ships were berthed there for 200 days last year, with the facility used for filming and events for a further 60 days.

He said he hoped the opening of the new Express Rail link to the mainland would help attract more passengers, as it put 270 million people within a four-hour train ride.

Earlier, Liberal Party lawmaker and Executive Council member Tommy Cheung Yu-yan said the government was missing the point if it only saw the terminal as a cruise facility, arguing it needed to do more to unleash its full potential for tourism.

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