A double-decker bus decorated with HK$300,000 worth of crystals and serving Michelin-star cuisine will take passengers to tour around Hong Kong after the operator got permission to run the special tours for 15 years.
The "crystal tour bus" is an idea so new to the government authorities that the vehicle had to be redesigned six times before it was allowed to hit the road.
Businessman Hung Ka-hang, who invested HK$10 million in the project, said most of the money was spent on designing and constructing the luxurious tour bus.
"The bus was built from scratch," Hung said. "Everything inside must be designed to meet the Transport Department's regulations."
Since the design and purpose of the bus are relatively new in Hong Kong, the department was not certain how to process the application, he said. The company finally got the green light after altering the design six times.
"It took us 20 months to obtain all the necessary licenses," Hung said, "and we are permitted to run this tour for the next 15 years."
He expects to make a profit in five years and will purchase more buses to expand the tour operation.
The double-decker, which can carry up to 47 passengers, will serve three different tours, including two day tours with fixed itineraries and a night tour which will be tailored to customers' preferences.
The two day tours will make round trips between either Tsim Sha Tsui and Central or Kowloon and Tsing Yi. Both routes will take about two hours to complete. The bus would only stop once along the route - either at the Hong Kong Observation Wheel in Central or the Lantau Link View Point in Tsing Yi, while the food served on the day tours will be provided by One Dim Sum, a Michelin one-star restaurant specializing in Canton-style cuisine.
Tickets for the day tours are priced at HK$380 for tourists and HK$285 for locals until the end of August.
The bus is also available for private night tours, which will thin the customers' wallets by HK$8,800 to HK$12,800, depending on the date - from Monday to Thursday at HK$8,800 and weekend and public holidays at HK$12,800 per bus.
Tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si- wing said: "Many mainland tourists have already been to popular sightseeing spots, so they are looking for something new and different. So are the tourists from Europe."