SCMP Friday, October 12, 2001

$2b airport exhibition centre planned


The Government is planning to build a $2 billion exhibition centre at Chek Lap Kok, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said on Wednesday.
Mr Tung was outlining new government polices in his fifth Policy Address to the Legislative Council.
''Hong Kong is a top exhibition and conference centre in the Asia-Pacific region. Our world-class facilities drive a thriving exhibition industry,'' he said.
''To maintain our competitiveness in the longer term, the Government will invest a maximum of $2 billion into the construction of a new exhibition centre at Chek Lap Kok in conjunction with the Airport Authority.''
Mr Tung said the Government also planned to promote tourism.
''Currently we are developing new tourist attractions. In addition to Disneyland, we will implement as quickly as possible five medium to long-term tourism initiatives on Lantau Island, Sai Kung, Central, West Kowloon and Aberdeen,'' he said.
Mr Tung noted the importance of mainland visitors contributing to tourism revenues. He said the Government had reached an agreement with the National Tourism Administration to abolish the quota system for the Hong Kong Group Tour Scheme with effect from January 2002.
''Initiatives will be taken to increase the number of mainland travel agencies organising tours to Hong Kong. Our target is to allow all mainland agencies organising outbound tours for mainland residents to arrange Hong Kong Group Tours.''
Mr Tung said it was also important for the SAR to promote itself as a logistics centre.
''With Hong Kong's excellent transportation facilities and the PRC's high productivity, together we can develop into a logistics hub to link the mainland with the world,'' he said.
Mr Tung said changes were needed to Hong Kong's immigration policy.
''The drawback of the existing system is that it prevents people who only invest capital and do not participate in the operation of any business from living in Hong Kong,'' he said.
''The Government is actively reviewing its immigration policy with a view to relaxing restrictions on the entry of overseas investors to Hong Kong and eliminate all unnecessary restrictions and barriers,'' he said.
Mr Tung said Hong Kong permanent residents who were foreign nationals would be granted three-year multiple visas to the mainland.