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Speech by the FS at the Signing Ceremony for the Design-and-Build Contract for the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal Building (English only) (with photos/video)
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Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, at the Signing Ceremony for the Design-and-Build Contract for the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal Building held in New Annex, Central Government Offices, this morning (May 8):

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

     Good morning.

     It is indeed my great pleasure to be here this morning to attend this signing ceremony today.

     Kai Tak is a name that elicits fond memories. As a legendary airport, Kai Tak touched the lives of people here and around the world. Now it is about to enter a new chapter in its development.

     First and foremost, I would like to congratulate Dragages on being awarded the design-and-build contract for the Cruise Terminal Building.

     Indeed, this project is something of a homecoming for Dragages, and completes a full circle of the company's presence here in Hong Kong for over half a century.

     Dragages came to Hong Kong in 1955. One of its first projects was to redesign the runway of the former Kai Tak International Airport. And many other projects since followed.

     I am confident that Dragages has the experience and the expertise to transform this site into a major Cruise Terminal that will also provide a fitting sequel to the legend of this iconic location.

     The cruise market in the Asia Pacific Region has been growing quickly, and Hong Kong is well-positioned to benefit from this growth.

     First, with a magnificent and deepwater harbour, world-class tourism infrastructure and great shopping, Hong Kong is widely regarded as a must-see cruise destination. Second, we are located at the heart of East Asia, with close ties and proximity to the Mainland market as well as excellent connections with the rest of the world.

     We also have a professional and versatile tourism sector that is well-versed in welcoming cruise vessels and their guests.

     These are significant attributes that will help to establish Asia's world city as a major cruise hub in the region.

     The site formation works for the Cruise Terminal started last year, and the first berth will be commissioned in mid 2013. It will be capable of accommodating the world's largest cruise vessels.

     The signing of this contract today will propel the works of the Cruise Terminal Building ahead at full steam. The building will be completed in 2013 íV a year ahead of our original schedule íV to provide world-class services to cruise passengers from the get go.

     It will also provide another landmark to grace our spectacular harbour and welcome visitors from around the globe.

     The Terminal Building will uphold our city's reputation for providing state-of-the-art facilities with high levels of comfort and efficiency. It will also adhere to the highest levels of environmental awareness and incorporate the latest energy saving technologies.

     At its busiest, the facilities will be able to accommodate two mega cruise ships at the same time.

     During off-peak cruise periods, the cruise terminal operating area may be converted for other uses to achieve maximum potential from this prime location.

     The Government will continue to promote Hong Kong as a cruise hub. We are strengthening co-operation with neighbouring Mainland coastal provinces and promoting cruiseoperation. We also recognise the need for an adequate supply of talent to meet the demands of an expanded cruise sector as well as related industries.

     As a youngster, I remember coming to the former airport to watch planes come and go. I am pleased the Cruise Terminal will continue this tradition of connecting with the public. A landscaped deck on the top floor will be a great spot for families and friends to meet and enjoy the spectacular view of the great Victoria Harbour.  

     Once again, congratulations to Dragages on being awarded the design-and-build contract. I wish the project every success.

     Thank you very much.

Ends/Saturday, May 8, 2010
Issued at HKT 11:01

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