Lawmakers see cistern tourist spot

Local | Michael Shum 6 May 2021

Turn the Bishop Hill cistern into a tourist attraction, lawmakers told authorities who aim to partially open the Shek Kip Mei site by the end of the year.

The lawmaker for the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape sector, Tony Tse Wai-chuen, called on the government to ride on the public's passion for heritage conservation to promote local tourism.

He said the site's discovery has raised the public's awareness on conservation, but their passion will dwindle after a period. He urged the government to come up with a conservation plan, which would also boost the economy.

Tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said Hongkongers have been looking for local tourist spots amid the pandemic. The government should develop the new place to cater for citizens as well as the tourism sector's future development.

Priscilla Leung Mei-fun of the Business and Professionals Alliance said the site should be developed into an Asian tourist spot.

"The government should take Japan as a reference, turning the cistern into a spot for moviemaking, and make it famous in southeast Asia for tourists to check out," Leung said.

Undersecretary for Development Liu Chun-san said a long-term plan has yet to be decided pending reinforcement work.

The government hopes to partially open the cistern to the public within this year.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah said the government has been looking for attractions with local characteristics, but a heritage site just for public viewing will hardly become a classic attraction.

"Therefore we need the Antiquities and Monuments Office to grade the cistern and put in resources, and bring in other participants," he said.

The century-old Romanesque cistern on Bishop Hill with more than 100 pillars was unearthed in December.

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