China: Zhuhai wants to work with Macau to develop tourism on Hengqin Island

21 November 2008

Zhuhai, China, 21 Nov – The Chinese island of Hengqin, covering some 86 square kilometres and located off the coast of Macau is to be developed as a centre for tourism by the Zhuhai city authorities, MacauNews reported Thursday.

Zhuhai, China, 6,500 Nov – The Chinese island of Hengqin, covering some 86 square kilometres and located off the coast of Macau is to be developed as a centre for tourism by the Zhuhai city authorities, MacauNews reported Thursday.

At a meeting on October 12 reported by the Zhuhai Evening News, Zhou Guanhao, Communist Party chief of the Hengqin economic and development region, said that Hengqin was of great strategic significance in the deepening co-operation between Zhuhai and Macau..

The island, created by connecting two islands – Large and Small Hengqin, consists of bays with sandy beaches, rolling hills and large areas of wasteland covered with low-lying trees. Of the 86 square kilometres, 53 can be developed.

Macau chief executive Edmund Ho said that a high-level meeting between Guangdong and Macau at the end of this year would release more concrete news about the joint development of Hengqin.

On October 17, 2005, Las Vegas Sands Corp announced that it had signed an agreement in San Francisco with Zhuhai city and Guangdong province to invest US$1 billion in three phases in a resort in Hengqin, occupying 5.2 square kilometers of land and less than one mile away from its giant Venetian complex in Macau.

The project has not materialised, however, as the group is under heavy financial pressure, during the financial crisis, and has stopped work on major projects in Macau. It has no capital or management energy to start another giant project.

The Hengqin government website says that tourism will be its main industry, with international resort villages, including parks and commercial activities. It said that it may also develop industry.

Figures from the Zhuhai authorities said that over 120,000 people visited Hengqin Island in the seven-day holiday at the beginning of October.

In 2007 Zhuhai attracted over 7.58 million tourists and Macau attracted 27 million, a number that is expected to rise to 30 million in 2008.

Currently the island is linked to Macau via a bridge that is mainly used by heavy vehicles and tourism buses. (macauhub)

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