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Disneyland Gives Job Boost to Hong Kong

Hong Kong Disneyland is expected to create 18,000 jobs, including 5,000 before opening of the theme park, it was reported in THE STANDARD in China. The park is expected to open by late 2005 and give a tourism and employment boom to the former British colony.

Most of the employees would be local, but tourism board chairwoman Selina Chow said she hopes expatriates will be employed to retain the appearance of the Disney characters. I hope Snow White will look like Snow White. I agree in principle to local recruitment, but I don't want to see the special appearance of the Disney characters lost,'' she said.

Commissioner of tourism Eva Cheng said it was an issue that Disney should settle.

The park is being built in phases and the Chinese government hopes to speed up the development the second phase. There was no timetable in the December 1999 agreement signed between the government and Walt Disney on when the second phase should start, but Disney has reportedly started thinking about phase two.

Cheng said the work is on time and mainly on budget. The infrastructure contracts for the construction of roads, sewers, water recreation center, public transport interchange and piers are on course for completion by the middle of next year.

Civil Engineering Department deputy director for special duties Yip Sai-chor said the government had awarded construction and consultancy contracts totaling HK$9.44 billion, compared with the government's original estimate of HK$12.24 billion.

Saichor said, We are confident the contract prices will amount to less than HK$12 billion.'' He said the figures include a 10% contingency for claims. I don't think we will spend more on contingencies based on the latest figures.''

The Chinese government is allowing growing numbers of its citizens to visit Hong Kong as tourists, as well as other parts of Asia.

To allow for the heavy rains and high humidity often found in Hong Kong, the 310-acre park on Hong Kongs Lantau Island overlooking Pennys Bay will have room coverings over 83% of the attraction while 90% of the restaurants will be covered or enclosed with air conditioning to combat the muggy air.