Following is a question by the Hon Choy So-yuk and a written reply by the Acting Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Leo Kwan, in the Legislative Council today (April 24):
I have received a proposal from members of the public that Kat Hing Wai (KHW) should be better preserved and developed jointly with other scenic spots in its vicinity to form a cluster of tourist attractions. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether:
(a) it has considered declaring KHW as a heritage to be protected by law;
(b) in the course of considering the proposal, it has plans to carry out regular repair and maintenance works to the antiquities and monuments in KHW and set up explanatory plaques to introduce such items; and
(c) it has considered developing a tourist route covering KHW and the nearby scenic spots (including the Wishing Tree in Lam Tsuen, the Kadoorie Farm and the Shek Kong Camp, etc.), and putting up sufficient directional signboards for such spots along the route?
(a) Kat Hing Wai is a privately owned property. The Antiquities and Monuments Office is negotiating with its owners with a view to obtaining their agreement to preserve the walled village as a monument.
(b) As Kat Hing Wai is a private property and the Government has not yet obtained the consent of its owners to declare it as a monument, therefore the owners are still responsible for its repair and maintenance. At present, an illustrative board introducing its history and characteristics in Chinese and English is installed at the village entrance. Moreover, the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Home Affairs Department have separately published promotional pamphlets to introduce to tourists and local residents the history, architecture and characteristics of Kat Hing Wai, among other sites.
(c) The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) is responsible for promoting and publicising Hong Kong's tourist attractions. It takes account of a number of considerations in assessing whether or not to promote a certain tourist site. These include market demand, meaning the tourists' interest in the site concerned; the views of the industry, such as whether or not there can be joint promotion of the site concerned together with other tourist products nearby to enhance effectiveness and add value for visitors; the attractiveness of the site concerned and its surrounding environment, including whether or not there are complementary tourist sites nearby to form a cluster so as to give visitors a variety of experience and enjoyment within a short time frame; and other complementary facilities such as transportation, hygiene provisions, safety amenities etc. Other considerations also include the co-operation of the site owners and support of the local community.
Kat Hing Wai, the Wishing Tree in Lam Tsuen, the Kadoorie Farm etc. are promoted by HKTB. The Wishing Tree, for instance, is one of the tourist sites covered by HKTB's "Heritage & Architecture Walk: New Territories" self-guided walk programme which also features a group of nearby attractions including Tai Po Market Railway Station, the old District Office, Hong Kong Railway Museum, Tai Po New Market, Man Mo Temple, Lam Tsuen Tin Hau Temple and She Shan Village. Kat Hing Wai is covered by many commercially operated sight-seeing tours.
The Tourism Commission and HKTB have plans to put up visitor directional signage at suitable locations so as to guide visitors to these tourist sites from the main transportation nodes nearby. The HKTB is always on the look-out for new products and attractions to promote to our visitors. It will explore and follow up on the proposal to develop Kat Hing Wai and other tourist sites nearby into a tourist route with relevant commercial tour operators.
End/Wednesday, April 24, 2002