Hong Kong Chief Executive Jon Lee Ka-chiu delivered his first policy address, which addressed a wide range of issues that affect the SAR. While he did not scrap the three-day medical surveillance period that inbound travellers must undergo after they arrive in the city, he did speak about his plans for other sectors. Here are some of the points he touched upon regarding culture, local tourism and conservation, sports, leisure and the Covid-19 situation in Hong Kong:
- The government plans to increase the number of museums run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to 19, up from the current 14. Authorities also propose to increase the capacity of seats at performance venues by about 50%.
- The East Kowloon Cultural Centre will be commissioned in phases from 2023, and will focus on integrating the arts and technology.
- Hong Kong pop culture — specifically films, TV, and streaming platforms — should be promoted so that it goes global. There are plans to organise an annual Pop Culture Festival and possibly set up a Pop Culture Centre.
Local tourism and conservation
- Five hundred hectares of land in Robin’s Nest will be designated as a country park in 2024. This will be a counterpart to the Shenzhen Wutong Mountain Scenic Area and create a cross-border ecological corridor between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
- There are plans to further open up Sha Tau Kok — the northernmost town in Hong Kong — with the exception of Chung Ying Street, in 2024 for cultural and eco-tourism activities. The pier area of the town opened to group tours for the first time in June.
- The government will implement a New Proactive Conservation Policy to resume private wetlands and fish ponds with ecological value.
- Authorities plan to develop a second sports park to be developed in Whitehead, Ma On Shan. Kai Tak Sports Park, which will be the city’s first such venue, will be completed in 2023.
- Plans to further develop the city’s sports venues include large-scale sports and recreation facilities in the Northern Metropolis.
- The government proposes to develop the Round-the-Island Trail — a 60-km stretch on Hong Kong Island that will connect the waterfront promenades on the northern shore, existing promenades, and countryside walking trails in the Southern District.
- Authorities are considering developing about 1,000 hectares of Green Belt sites in southern Lantau for eco-tourism or recreation.
1. While the Chief Executive did not mention any definite relaxation of measures for inbound travellers or social distancing restrictions, he did say, “Where conditions permit, the government will enhance various measures in a progressive way, including social distancing measures.”
2. The CE addressed the reverse quarantine arrangement for travellers from Hong Kong to Mainland China. He said that his administration is in talks with their counterparts on the Mainland about how travellers can best meet the 7+3 quarantine requirements from the other side of the border.
3. Lee outlined obstacles that may hinder or delay plans to further open up the city, such as “the epidemic situation outside Hong Kong, possible risks arising from winter influenza, development of virus variants, the capacity of local healthcare system, etc.”
Header image credits: GovHK