Prudence Lui bears witness to the progressive development of Lantau Island, which now sports new-builds that aim to attract more travellers to Hong Kong
Armed with new and enhanced tourist infrastructure as well as improved accessibility, Lantau Island is now recognised as an attractive “double gateway” that connects Hong Kong with Greater Bay Area (GBA) and other parts of the world via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai Macao Bridge and Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
HKIA commenced aircraft take-off and landing operations on its third runway in July 2022, while remaining enhancement works on the aviation facility is pressing ahead. HKIA is due to get a reconfigured central runway, expanded Terminal 2 and a new concourse, updated automated people-mover system, and high-speed baggage handling system.
The ultimate goal is to complete HKIA’s three-runway system by 2024, since work first started in August 2016.
The airport opened its Sky Bridge – a 200m-long and 20m-width footbridge equipped with escalators and automated walkway – last November, enabling airport users to cover Terminal 1 (T1) to T1 Satellite Concourse on foot.
The Sky Bridge is also an architectural magnet – it is the world’s longest airside bridge that allows the largest passenger aircraft, like the A380, to pass under. Featuring panoramic views, the Sky Bridge has become a prime viewing spot for passengers. An observation deck, catering outlet and shop will soon open in phases.
The vicinity of HKIA has also been enhanced with the progressive opening of 11 SKIES next door. This landmark, when completed in 2025, will be home to over 800 shops, including more than 120 dining concepts, and Hong Kong’s largest indoor entertainment hub that will host world-class entertainment attractions never seen before in the region.
11 SKIES is also meant to integrate workplaces for GBA enterprises, with a focus on wealth management, wellness and medical services.
There is development on the hotel front too. After welcoming the 206-room Silveri Hong Kong-MGallery last summer, Tung Chung, on the north-western coast of Lantau Island, has its hotel inventory expanded further with the opening of the 1,208-key Regala Skycity Hotel early this year.
Owned and operated by Regal Hotels International, this new hotel is directly connected to AsiaWorld-Expo and 11 SKIES via an enclosed footbridge, making it an ideal accommodation option for both leisure and business travellers.
Regala Skycity Hotel packs in five game rooms, cabana rooms with patios available for private hiring, and a landscaped rooftop Sky Deck that offers panoramic views of Lantau Island. For fitness buffs, the hotel charms with a jogging track and organic farm.
Hong Kong’s largest island has also raised its fun quotient, with its most notable attraction – Hong Kong Disneyland Resort (HKDL) – launching fresh draws.
HKDL has unveiled a reimagined Castle of Magical Dreams, home to a fully-refreshed Follow Your Dreams daytime musical stage show and the all-new night-time spectacular, Momentous. Its activity calendar for 2023 is packed with immersive experiences, such as StellaLou’s Wonderful Wishes Ballet in April; a series of Heroic Encounters with Marvel Super Heroes in May; Disney Halloween Time with Disney Villains November to December; and A Disney Christmas special to round up the year.
Furthermore, a number of world’s firsts will come to HKDL – The World of Frozen will open in 2H2023 and Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse Statue-Dream Makers in October 2023.
Commenting on Lantau Island’s various developments, HKDL director of sales for Hong Kong and international, Eva Lau, told TTG Asia that travellers would be encouraged to stay on longer in the destination. More travellers from around the world would also have a reason to explore Hong Kong.
“In the long run, these (developments) will definitely enhance the overall appeal of Hong Kong as a tourist destination, attracting more tourists to Hong Kong Disneyland, Lantau and Hong Kong,” Lau added.
Renee Kim, general manager of Regal Hotels International, said the developments play a crucial role in contributing to the success of Lantau Island as a tourism central, especially with the opening of 11 SKIES, which she expects will attract more travellers from the GBA.
She said: “(Lantau Island) has changed a lot in the past decade. With all the natural scenery, history and culture, plenty of famous attractions as well as new developments coming on line in the near future, I believe that this area will become one of the most popular destinations for tourists who visit Hong Kong.”