The Hong Kong government is committed to developing Hong Kong into a leading regional cruise hub, said a Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) spokesman in a recent interview.
 
On Feb. 25, "Seabourn Sojourn" from Seabourn Cruise Line arrived in Hong Kong and started its three-day port visit. Seabourn Cruise is a luxury cruise line headquartered in the U.S., operates cruise trips around the world.
 
After a site visit to the cruise, executive director of HKTB Anthony Lau and assistant commissioner Clement Lau from the Tourism Commission told reporters that the government is working with related industries to enhance the cruise market in Hong Kong, and the terminal building for Kai Tak Cruise terminal is expected to commence operation in mid-2013.
 
The executive director said that more than 660,000 tourists choose cruise trips departed from Hong Kong to other travel destinations in 2010, up 9 percent over 2009, of whom 60 percent were from Chinese mainland.
 
He said that HKTB is working closely with the Hong Kong government to attract cruise vessels to home port in Hong Kong. "We will continue to push the cruise tourism concept in the following years. To combine our promotion for cruise tourism and the launch of Kai Tak Cruise terminal, we believe Hong Kong will become an important cruise hub in the region."
 
The assistant commissioner said to complement Kai Tak Cruise terminal’s development, the government is dedicated to enhance the software for the cruise market in Hong Kong. "The advisory committee on cruise industry was established to advise the government on measures enhancing the development of Hong Kong as a regional cruise hub."
 
When asked about the government’s strategies in promoting cruise tourism in Chinese mainland, the executive director said that HKTB will target on south China cities, and to work with major cruise companies to develop different routes to offer more selections for customers.
 
He said that to facilitate cruise operators in developing itineraries, "we have worked with four Chinese mainland provinces, namely Fujian, Hainan, Guangdong and Guangxi to set up the "cruise South China" website, which provides information on port facilities and tourism resources in Hong Kong and neighboring provinces."
 
The government decided the 7 billion HK dollars of appropriation to finance the construction of Kai Tak cruise terminal in 2008. The new cruise terminal will have two alongside berths, with the first berth is expected to begin operating in mid- 2013 and will be able to berth the world’s largest cruise vessel with a gross tonnage of 220,000 tons.
 
The second berth will be available in 2014 to berth medium- sized cruise vessels and will begin to accommodate mega vessels after the relocation of submarine gas mains. The Kai Tak project also includes a runway precinct, a tourism node and various waterfronts.
 

 

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