Speech by SCST at Welcoming Ceremony for Silver Spirit (English only) (with video)
Adam (Managing Director Asia Pacific of Silversea Cruises, Mr Adam Radwanski), Captain Gennaro (Captain of Silver Spirit, Mr Gennaro Arma), YK (Chairman of Hong Kong Tourism Board, Dr Pang Yiu-kai), distinguished guests and friends from the media,
Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to join you all in welcoming Silver Spirit to Hong Kong, the first international cruise berthing in Hong Kong in almost three years.
I am pleased to see this very cruise ship sailing through our iconic Victoria Harbour this morning with water salute. Not only does it signify the return of Hong Kong to the international cruise map, but also marks another key milestone in the recovery of our tourism industry.
We are thankful that Silversea Cruises have cast a vote of confidence in Hong Kong by arranging six ship calls to the city in the coming two months. Our tourism trade are all thrilled to have the opportunity to receive hundreds of cruise passengers from more than 20 different countries in the coming two days, and many more visitors afterwards.
Being a cosmopolitan city and a cultural melting pot of East and West, Hong Kong is a unique and not-to-be missed destination of cruise itineraries in Asia. The Central Government of our country has indicated clear support for Hong Kong to develop into an East‑meets‑West centre for international cultural exchange, and we shall do all with the principle of shaping tourism with cultural activities and promoting culture through tourism.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not discouraged our determination to maintain Hong Kong's position as a premier tourist destination. We have positively taken the opportunity to introduce new and upgrade existing tourism offerings of diverse nature. As normal travel resumes, they are ready to give new excitements and fond memories to our friends from around the world. Such offerings range from two world-class museums M+ and the Hong Kong Palace Museum, the upgraded Peak Tram and the new crystal cable car of Ngong Ping 360, to the new attractions and live performances at the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Ocean Park. Needless to say, they are all on top of our dazzling shopping options and Michelin star-studded restaurants.
Meanwhile, with the progressive and orderly resumption of normal travel with Mainland China and the enhancement of transport capacity, most notably flights at the airport, the high-speed rail services resumed last Sunday (January 15) and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, cruise lines would tap into the big source market in Mainland China, in particular the Greater Bay Area.
The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will continue to promote the development of cruise tourism in Hong Kong, which brought a value added contribution of 1.7 billion Hong Kong dollars back in 2018, benefiting different sectors. We and the Hong Kong Tourism Board will spare no efforts to render support to international cruise lines on various fronts to facilitate their deployment to Hong Kong.
Lastly, may I express again my appreciation to Silversea Cruises for your confidence and trust in Hong Kong, and also the concerted efforts of members of the trade as well as my colleagues in the Tourism Commission and the Hong Kong Tourism Board to materialise and facilitate the arrival of Silver Spirit. The fact that we all gather here on this occasion to celebrate the resumption of international cruise travel is due no small part to all of your efforts.
As Chinese New Year is round the corner, I also wish you all a healthy and prosperous Year of the Rabbit. Thank you.
Ends/Wednesday, January 18, 2023
Issued at HKT 10:59
Issued at HKT 10:59
Audio / Video
SCST speaks at Welcoming Ceremony for Silver Spirit