The Commissioner for Tourism, Mr Mike Rowse, today (Tuesday) highlighted what he described as the "soft" benefits of Hong Kong Disneyland, which "in some ways may be even more important than the 'hard' ones".
He was speaking at a media briefing in Government House, where his soft facts fell into four categories : an exciting new Hong Kong family adventure; a new tourism product to fill a gap in selling Hong Kong overseas as a family destination; the standard of excellence required for the project; and the message to the world that Hong Kong is "alive and kicking".
Mr Rowse said that Hong Kong Disneyland would be a tremendous recreation outlet and destination for Hong Kong families - for children, for their parents, and for their grandparents. "It will be a place where you can go and spend the whole day with wholesome family entertainment."
For overseas visitors, he said, Hong Kong had always been a centre for the business traveller and for adult visitors in terms of such things as shopping and dining.
"But one thing missing has been an attraction that would make families sitting down together to plan their holidays think of Hong Kong as a good destination. We will now be filling that gap in our tourism product."
Mr Rowse said the third element of the "soft" side of Hong Kong Disneyland was the standard of excellence Disney had demanded in the negotiations, not simply on the financial side a topic with which Hong Kong was so familiar. There were many other areas in the negotiations that were just as time consuming.
"The standard of landscaping in the vicinity of the theme park, the aesthetic appearance of the public pier, the look and management of the public transport interchange, this setting of standards and forcing us to focus on a better product on a higher class, really pushing us towards excellence, pushing us towards being world class."
He said the fourth element was the message that the deal between the Hong Kong SAR Government and Disney sent to the international community.
"This project tells the world that Hong Kong is still alive and kicking and we are aiming high. We are not going to decline. We are going to grow from where we were and develop, and we are aiming to be among the world's top cities", Mr Rowse added.
End/Tuesday, November 2, 1999