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Transcript by Secretary for Economic Development and Labour


The following is a transcript by the Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, Mr Stephen Ip, speaking to reporters after attending the launch of the "Visit Hong Kong Month" today (August 26) by the United Airlines (English portion):

Reporter: Hotel rates have been rising abruptly since this policy of allowing individual Mainlanders to come to visit Hong Kong. Is it a cause for concern and how would the Government deal with the problem?

Stephen Ip: I think we believe in market forces. The most important thing is to have enough hotel accommodation and that is why recently I have met with the developers and encouraged them to speed up their hotel projects. And we would do what we can to help speed up the process. I'll arrange meetings with the hotel industry, the travel industry and airlines sitting round the table. I think it is important to have good co-ordination. The rooms are there and of course there will be additional hotel rooms coming up, for example in the next two years there will be additional 12,000 rooms. Between now and 2008, there could be another 20,000 rooms coming up as well because there are new planning applications.

(Please also refer to the Chinese portion)

End/Tuesday, August 26, 2003


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