Speech by CE at debut and christening of cruise ship World Dream (English only) (with photos/video)
Tan Sri Lim (Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Genting Hong Kong, Mr Lim Kok Thay), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good evening. It gives me great pleasure to join all of you this evening in welcoming the arrival of World Dream, the new 335-metre, 18-deck mega-cruise ship, to Hong Kong. May I extend my best wishes to all passengers on World Dream's maiden voyage, which begins this very evening.
Before World Dream sets sail, however, we get to do the next best thing. And that's take part in one of sailing's most captivating rituals: the ship christening ceremony.
World Dream represents a major milestone in Hong Kong's rise as a cruise ship hub. It will be the first mega-cruise ship to be christened here. It will also be the biggest cruise ship to call Hong Kong its year-round home. That, ladies and gentlemen, speaks of the importance that Genting Hong Kong attaches to the Hong Kong market and the ability of Hong Kong to appeal to regional and global cruise ship lovers.
Let me add here that, whenever World Dream is in port here, it will become part of our revamped "Symphony of Lights" show – making a major international showcase that much more attractive. The new light-and-sound show begins in December this year.
World Dream's year-round presence here also speaks of the state-of-the-art facilities at this Kai Tak Cruise Terminal. Cruise tourism in Hong Kong has been expanding rapidly in the four and a half years since the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal opened. The number of ship calls in Hong Kong this year will reach an all-time high of about 250, with passenger throughput hitting a record-breaking 850 000. That welcome news would not be possible without the support of Genting Hong Kong and other cruise lines, along with our travel trade partners and the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
My Government is determined to build on that strong foundation and inject further impetus into the development of cruise tourism. In my first Policy Address delivered last month, I have clearly laid down the development strategies of the tourism industry in Hong Kong. The Tourism Commission has also produced a comprehensive Tourism Development Blueprint, and a number of its initiatives relate to cruise tourism, to enhancing the experience of cruise passengers in Hong Kong and to driving the development of this very important sector.
In addition, the Financial Secretary last month convened a high-level committee to co-ordinate the Government's tourism efforts. And we are pleased to see a number of breakthroughs, from improvements to infrastructure and connectivity, to streamlining immigration and logistic arrangements for cruise tourism. I am confident that we will continue to provide the best environment for cruise lines to sustain a healthy business growth here.
And, down the sea road, as Mr Lim pointed out, the Belt and Road Initiative and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area development plan will offer more promise for our cruise industry. I am sure that I can count on the support from every one of you here in our efforts to grasp the opportunities in front of us.
Lastly, my congratulations to Genting Hong Kong on its latest cruise launch and to Dream Cruises on its newly expanded fleet. I would also like to thank them for choosing Hong Kong for this important event. I wish World Dream, and Genting Hong Kong, smooth sailing into the South China Sea and the future. Their success will surely be Hong Kong's good fortune.
On that promising note, I wish you all a very pleasant evening. Thank you very much.
Ends/Friday, November 17, 2017
Issued at HKT 21:05
Issued at HKT 21:05