April 18, 2005

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Hong Kong Disneyland Watch

An ongoing series on Hong Kong Disneyland.

Jake van der Kamp in today's SCMP

Do you remember how the Disney boosters in our government told us that the big plus in setting up a Disney theme park here would be the enormous increase we would get in visitor arrivals to Hong Kong? They appear to be looking at that big increase a little differently now, with the park set to open within months. They are still asking how we can get these visitors here but not in terms of how we can induce them to come. The problem is rather how we can get them through the chokepoints, if we can at all.

What it all comes down to is that the Disney park is indeed likely to bring a boost to our economy, a cost boost. We will have to invest yet more billions to upgrade border crossings, roads and other infrastructure facilities so that visitors to Hong Kong can spend money on goods and services that do not come from Hong Kong and are largely provided by migrant service workers. Others will get the benefit. We will get the cost.

But in the end that was always how it was likely to be. The difference is that we already have more than twice as many visitors arriving each day as we did when the Disney park was first mooted. We never really needed it and all it will do now is make our congestion problems even worse. It is our misfortune that the one chokepoint that could do us some good, the one that chokes off spending public funds for tourist-related projects that never give us a decent return, is the only one we will never get.

posted by Simon on 04.18.05 at 09:29 AM in the Hong Kong Disneyland category.


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