In the past, Hong Kong has been marked as an international trading port with the trading and manufacturing industry dominating the city’s economy. To this day, this is still true, however since the 1980s – 1990s Hong Kong shifted to a more consumer service oriented market with key landmarks being constructed and services such as food and cultural art hubs being offered. This has driven a lot of what Hong Kong’s identity has been established as (“Asia’s World City”) and thus, more and more ideas are being generated to increase the tourist traffic – a key component of this is construction, most recently the Hong Kong Ferris Wheel.
Located on the harbour front outside of Central Pier 9 and 10, the 60 metre high Ferris wheel puts Hong Kong on the map alongside many other major cities such as London, Singapore and Tokyo as another skyline with a giant spinning wheel. Why? Quite simply to gain further tourist attraction and obviously bring in some good revenue as a result. From a tourist point of view, it seems like quite a sensible idea to be able to gain an unobstructed view of Victoria Harbour and the surrounding iconic buildings of Hong Kong. However, the proposal of the Ferris Wheel has divided the public’s opinion –a portion saying it is of great benefit to the Hong Kong tourism industry and another side claiming it will be an eyesore and vulgar piece of unnecessary steel construction. The Ferris Wheel has now been erected and will be in operation later this month. Only time will tell if it is another Hong Kong success story.
Further enhancing Hong Kong’s tourism market will be construction of the West Kowloon Cultural District. The idea of Hong Kong as a cultural destination has been amped up in recent years with the proposals of purpose-built venues such as museums (M+ museum) and performing arts centres (Xiqu Centre). In the upcoming years, Hong Kong will be a lot more than a hot shopping spot or fancy eateries or a place for kitschy knick knacks. The M+ Museum (designed by Herzog & de Meuron, TFP Farrells and Ove Arup & Partners) and Xiqu Centre (designed by Bing Thom Architects and Ronald Lu & Partners) will house contemporary art exhibitions and cultural Chinese art performances respectively, hopefully drawing in tourists around the world, not just neighbouring countries. However, the buildings are designed to be tourist attractions in themselves with innovative conceptual design forms and considered methods of sustainability which will hope to be an attraction for construction professionals and the regular tourist alike.
If we turn our heads to “mainstream” tourism for example, theme parks such as Disneyland has gained major traction in terms of construction requirement as a result of visitor growth over the past few years. A third hotel has been proposed for Disneyland alongside further themed attractions scheduled to be complete by 2017 – this will add another 750 rooms to the existing 1000. The overall diversity of work in Hong Kong is keeping the interest high for all construction professionals whether that is civil engineering related applicants or luxury building experienced experts.
Hong Kong & Asia Region