The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government aims to develop Hong Kong into a leading regional cruise hub through the development of a world-class cruise terminal with state-of-the-art, user-friendly facilities which will provide efficient and quality services. To this end, the Government issued an open tender on November 9 for the development of a new cruise terminal, situated on 7.6 hectares of land, at the southern end of the former Kai Tak airport runway, right in the heart of Victoria Harbour. With its prominent location, the cruise terminal is expected to be iconic and project an image befitting the position of Hong Kong as “Asia's world city” and a major tourist destination.

The Government welcomes local and overseas tenderers who possess the minimum requirement of three years' immediate experience in operating a cruise terminal with a minimum annual throughput of 200,000 embarking and disembarking homeport passengers.

The new cruise terminal will comprise, inter alia, about 30,000 square metres for a baggage handling area, a passenger waiting/queuing area, a customs, immigration and health quarantine area and accommodation for other government departments; a maximum of 50,000 square metres in the cruise terminal building for such purposes as hotels, retail space, convention halls, offices, shops and eating places; and at least 22,000 square metres for a landscaped deck.

The successful tenderer is expected to design, build, operate, manage and maintain the new cruise terminal for 50 years and to begin operating the first berth in February 2012.

To facilitate monitoring of the operation of the new cruise terminal, the successful tenderer will be required to enter into a service agreement with the Government. The service agreement will incorporate the successful tenderer's proposals and service pledges for the operation and management of the new cruise terminal. It will be co-terminous with the land lease.

The Government will adopt a two-envelope tender approach, with 70% weighting to be given to the quality aspects and 30% to the premium aspects in the assessment of the bids. The Tender Assessment Panel, chaired by the Commissioner for Tourism and comprising representatives of the relevant Government bureaus and departments, will assess the technical aspects as well as the operation and management aspects of the bids. Key technical aspects for assessment will include, for example, the robustness of the construction programme and the efficiency and effectiveness of the cruise terminal building layout. Major operational aspects will include the service pledges on operation and management and proposed disclosure arrangements. The assessment criteria are set out in the tender documents.

The Tender Assessment Panel will be advised by international experts appointed by the Tourism Commission and the Civil Engineering and Development Department. The experts will act as consultants and provide inputs to the panel on cruise terminal operation and engineering aspects.

The Government attaches equal importance to the development of hardware and software facilities for the cruise market. In this regard, an Advisory Committee on Cruise Industry (ACCI) will be established to seek advice on measures to enhance the development of Hong Kong as a regional cruise hub. It will bring together key players in the cruise market, tourism industry, and the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Matters of priority for the ACCI to consider will include -

(a) Co-operation with neighbouring coastal provinces on the Mainland on cruise itinerary development;

(b) Promotion of cruise tourism in Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific region;

(c) Entry of cruise vessels (and their passengers) homeporting in Hong Kong to neighbouring ports of call on the Mainland;

(d) Interim berthing arrangements for cruise vessels before 2012, i.e. before the commissioning of the first berth in the new cruise terminal at Kai Tak in 2012; and

(e) Supply of talent for the cruise market and related industries, including training new talent, retaining existing talent and attracting overseas talent.