125. Fourth, tourism. Tourism is an important pillar of our economy and employs a workforce of nearly 220 000. In 2011, our tourism industry again put up a robust performance. The number of visitors reached a new high of 42 million during the year, an increase of almost 50 per cent over 2007. Total spending associated with inbound tourism also saw an increase of nearly 70 per cent over 2007, exceeding $250 billion.
126. In recent years, Hong Kong has been investing heavily in tourism infrastructure. The redevelopment of Ocean Park at a cost of $5.5 billion will be completed within this year. The Ocean Park is working on a plan to construct an all-weather waterpark. We shall give it our full support to bring this project to fruition. On the development of hotels in Ocean Park, we shall put in place flexible arrangements, so that Ocean Park can revise the tender conditions for re-tendering the projects. We hope that these projects will help enhance the attractiveness of Ocean Park, making it ready for another success after an increase of 22 per cent in attendance last year.
127. Turning to Disneyland. Its attendance was close to six million last year, with merchandise, food and beverage sales as well as hotel room occupancy registering impressive growth. Its latest themed area “Toy Story Land” was newly opened at the end of 2011 with another two, “Grizzly Gulch” and “Mystic Point”, scheduled for completion in 2012 and 2013 respectively. We hope that the new themed areas will take Disneyland’s performance in the coming year to new heights. Another phase of expansion in the existing park site is under planning. We shall carefully consider the proposals to be submitted to us.
128. Meanwhile, the development of the Kai Tak new cruise terminal is making good progress, with the terminal building and the first berth expected to start operation in mid-2013. We shall also update the hardware infrastructure of the border crossings to provide speedier and more convenient clearance services for tourists.
129. To make Hong Kong a more attractive place, the Mega Events Fund was established in 2009 for a period of three years. The Fund has sponsored a variety of events staged by many local non-profit-making organisations, such as the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival and the Hong Kong Open Championship (golf tournament). I propose to allocate $150 million to the Mega Events Fund and extend its operation for five years. We have also invited the Mega Events Fund Assessment Committee to study ways of giving the Fund more flexibility to facilitate its effective operation.
130. Currently, there are nearly 190 hotels in Hong Kong, supplying more than 62 000 rooms. The Government has been making various efforts to increase the supply of hotel rooms. Firstly, we have put “hotel only” sites on our Land Sale Programme. Three out of five “hotel only” sites included in the Land Sale Programme for 2011-12 have been sold. It is estimated that they will provide more than 1 500 hotel rooms. Another site sold was also designated for mixed development comprising hotels. In addition, as at the end of last year, five applications for redevelopment or wholesale conversion of industrial buildings into hotels were approved by the Lands Department. It is estimated that more than 1 500 hotel rooms will be provided. Three other applications are being processed. We estimate that the total number of hotels will increase by nearly 50 to close to 240 in 2016, supplying over 71 000 rooms, an increase of 9 000 rooms.