The Film City project is one of those recommended in the comprehensive Visitor and Tourism Study for Hong Kong (VISTOUR), which was completed in late 1995 and intended as a blueprint for the future development of new tourism attractions in Hong Kong.
The study, carried out by City Planning Consultants Ltd. in association
with a team of relevant local consultants
and international theme park specialists, investigates a series of components and development concepts for the
area around Tsing Yi and Ma Wan. The HKTA has submitted the study to the government and requested that it
endorse the land use in principle. The association has also proposed that the government establish a working group to implement the proposals.
The key development concepts featured in the study include, in the short term, a new theme park on Ma Wan and a hotel complex-cum- Visitor Center on Tsing Yi. In the long term, the study proposes the strategic expansion of attractions in Tsing Ma and northeast Lantau.
The major component of the study is the Ma Wan theme park, which could adopt a film/movies theme. The study recommends that this theme park be located to the south of the Ma Wan Viaduct, a site which takes into account the consideration of government land status, existing planning intentions for land use permitting the development of a theme park, and availability and size of the site.
With a planned eventual area of around 25 hectares, the new theme park could feature adequate attractions, shopping, and food and beverage facilities to retain visitors for an average of five hours. The study estimates that, in the initial years of operation, the theme park could attract an annual attendance of approximately 2.9 million visitors. This should rise to 3.9 million at maturity. Attendance beyond the initial years will likely increase as more attractions are available in subsequent years to stimulate repeat visits and long-term visitor growth.
Benefits to the community of the Film City include tangible economic ones, as well as intangible social benefits.
In economic terms, it is estimated that an additional 1.1 million visitor-days will be added to the annual tourism draw of Hong Kong by the new theme park. This would generate new gross tourism spending in Hong Kong of up to HK$2.1 billion (US$269.23 million) per year. From this new spending, it is estimated that some HK$745 million (US$95.51 million) would constitute direct value-added income for the Hong Kong economy each year.
The Study identified three implementation models for the Film City theme
park, namely: Government,
non-profit-making or charitable organizations, or the private sector.
The second short-term recommendation outlined in the study -- the hotel
complex in conjunction with the New
Airport Project Coordination Office (NAPCO) Lantau Link Visitor Center/Viewing Platform -- recommends the
construction of a 1,000-room hotel, with ancillary theater and convention facilities, and direct access to an open
waterfront promenade. Commanding an excellent view of the Tsing Ma Bridge, the hotel could be designed as an
architectural landmark, with a special theme in line with the Film City concept. It would serve tourists already
attracted to the area.
The Study's recommendation to package the hotel in conjunction with
the existing NAPCO's Viewing Platform
and Visitor Centre on the adjacent headland is designed to optimize the tourism potential of the area. The
NAPCO Viewing Platform and Visitor Centre are only temporary facilities and there is, to date, no long-term
management arrangement in place. The 600,000 people already visiting the facilities do not have such supporting
amenities as toilets, or food and beverage facilities. The hotel complex would complement the Visitor Center in
providing much-needed operational and commercial facilities for the anticipated visitors. It will provide the
support to construct needed infrastructure to secure the Viewing Platform/Visitor Center.
As far as the strategic expansion opportunities on the northeast part of Lantau Island are concerned, the northern shore and Tsing Chau Tsai of Lantau are considered appropriate areas for future long-term extension of the Tsing Ma "tourism corridor." As a complementary development, it could enhance the area as a major international tourism attraction. The study proposes that these ideas be examined further in the Northshore Lantau Development Study to be initiated by the Government in the near future.
For Hong Kong's community at large, the proposed tourism development
in the Tsing Yi/Ma Wan area would
provide such benefits as a much-need and broader range of family recreational and cultural opportunities; the
reduction of economic loss to other recreational attractions in Asia; increased local job opportunities; and an
enhanced image of Hong Kong overseas. In addition, international media coverage of the development would
serve as a stimulus for additional tourism and all the economic and social benefits that it brings.