Honk Kong's reclaimation efforts for Disney are killing its fishing industry.
November 23, 2001 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Honk Kong's reclaimation efforts for Disney are killing its fishing industry. Is this the proper way to reclaim land? It looks like HK would happily trade away its dwindling fishing industry for a Disney business opportunity. I can't decide if this is economic progress or a very risky trade between a market that produces goods (fish) and one that produces a service (entertainment). I can't read this and not think of Paris' Eurodisney disaster. I wonder how the one in Tokyo is doing.
posted by skallas (4 comments total)
The one in Tokyo is doing very well indeed. It is, I believe, one of the most profitable theme parks and tourist destinations in the world. They've just launched Tokyo Disney Sea, probably the most expensive theme park in history, with attractions that push the boundaries in terms of how 'realistic' the theming is. Incredibly expensive to a level that Disney themselves wouldn't dare: the park is not owned by Disney but by the Oriental Land Company who pay the Mouse royalties. The Japanese lap it up, even in the midst of a recession.

But Hong Kong should learn from the problems of Paris: a Disney park is not guaranteed profit for any government, especially since Disney has a history of extracting as much from the local area as it brings in via tourism. Disneyland Paris is now a success, but it took ten years to get there. Meanwhile I understand the Hong Kong Disney park is, for financial reasons, a stripped-back Disneyland with less quality rides and less themed lands than usual.
posted by skylar at 10:02 AM on November 23, 2001

i agree that disneyland is a risky trade off, the rationale with which the project gained support from the public is that the park will provide a bunch of jobs. there's also a move to replace 'obselete' industries (those that moved production into mainland china to lower costs, e.g. textiles, toy, electronics). in the 80's and 90's, hong kong's economy was based on services, with the dining industry as its biggest money maker behind real estate. i don't know how aware the officials are to their bias with services versus goods. i'm pretty disappointed with the lack of action on the part of the numerous great industrialists of hong kong... the city is in a bunch of trouble.
posted by elle at 12:37 AM on November 24, 2001

This isn't the first time that the SAR government has overlooked environmental concerns when dealing with expansion. To build the new airport, they reclaimed land around nearby Lantau Island. This removed a pretty large chunk of coastline from the already small amounts left in Hong Kong. Some of the side effects? The pink dolphin numbers continue to dwindle and fishing is going belly up. It's too bad they aren't placing it up in the New Territories - the kcr [metro] would love more business. Concern for the environment seems to be something very low in the list of priorities for Hong Kong people in general. You can see an summary of this here. Although I didn't write the link, there are parts I do agree with considering the way people act here in Hong Kong.

As for why Disney is being built, it's part of Tung Chee-hwa's plan to boost the economy. Since he can't make the government spend its way out of the recession (against the basic law of Hong Kong to have a budget deficit), this is the best he could do. The package that Disney is bundled with isn't nearly enough to help during the global recession. Too bad HKers can't vote him out of office at election time.

And, Elle, you are so right. Lots o trouble.
posted by pooldemon at 4:26 AM on November 24, 2001

true about the level of environmental concern, but to clarify ont thing: the plight of the pink dolphins is more a direct result of pollution from mainland china pouring its way into the waters around hong kong via the pearl river estuary.

hong kong has been battling public malaise regarding the way it handles refuse for ten years through advertising and it still isn't working.

air quality continues to decline as increased vehicular traffic and airborne mainland pollution combine.

i've lived here over three years, and i honestly don't know if the situation is going to improve.

as far as the involvement of the mouse house with regard to the environment, it is likely causing damage, but on the grand scale, it is low on hong kong's list of problems.
posted by bwg at 7:12 AM on November 24, 2001

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