Following is the speech (English only) by the Financial Secretary, Mr Henry Tang, at the opening ceremony of Le Meridien Cyberport this (April 20) afternoon:
Mr [Michael] Sagild, Mr [John] Strickland, Mr [Jack] So, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be here today for the Grand Opening of Le Meridien Cyberport. As some of you will recall, I was here last year officiating at the Hotel's topping-out ceremony. On that occasion I promised to come back to see this magnificent hotel when it was opened. I am glad that despite the change in my official capacity, I was still invited to attend today's ceremony.
This is a special occasion for the tourism and IT industries, both key drivers of Hong Kong's economy. Since the SARS crisis in 2003, our tourism industry has undergone a very strong vibrant V-shaped recovery, underpinned by strong growth in the number of Mainland visitors, who now make up more than half of our total arrivals. You will hear more good news on this front very shortly, at three-thirty this afternoon.
While the Mainland market is growing rapidly, we are always mindful of our business travellers and visitors from overseas. In fact, our major overseas markets are picking up. Visitors from Europe, the US and Australia rebounded to double-digit growth in February. The addition of this latest five-star hotel enables Hong Kong to respond in a timely way to the upward trend in inbound visitors, in particular to the needs of business and technology savvy travellers.
Le Meridien Cyberport is one of the key components of the comprehensive, self-contained Cyberport project. Blending "Art and Tech" together, Le Meridien Cyberport showcases the successful application of information and wireless technologies in the daily life of a modern-day hotel.
The unique features of Le Meridien Cyberport, coupled with the state-of-the-art IT and conference facilities available in Cyberport, make the IT flagship an ideal place for business conferences and seminars. I sincerely wish Le Meridien Cyberport every success in the years ahead. I trust that the Hotel's customer-centric approach, together with its successful application of information technologies, will help breed a new culture in the hotel business and enhance the quality services provided by our hotel industry. Again I wish the hotel every success.
Ends/Tuesday, April 20, 2004