Hong Kong has moved closer to launching its first European-style floral garden on a reserved plot of reclaimed land on Lantau Island.
The company behind the project, Kaleido Park, on Wednesday said it had submitted proposals to the government to develop about 11 hectares of the 60-hectare idle plot into a Dutch-designed garden and an exhibition centre as a new pop-up tourism initiative on the island.
The land has been earmarked for the second phase of Hong Kong Disneyland’s expansion. The project, for comparison, would take up an area a little more than half the size of Victoria Park in Causeway Bay.
Under the plan, the tourist attraction would remain in place for five years, until 2024.
Alan Fang Yan-kit, managing director at Kaleido Park, said the privately funded project would cost “a low nine-figure sum” or more than HK$100 million, and was expected to draw up to 1.5 million visitors per year after the park became fully operational.
Fang stressed the park – amid competition from similar gardens in other parts of Asia – would bring out the aesthetic elements of floral design, with the focus on colours and flower patterns. It would also feature a classical garden, an interactive playground and a maze for children.
He added gardens in mainland China were more based on “seas of flowers” while those in Singapore featured architectural elements with a more botanic focus.
“It may not be the largest park in the region. But with quality assured and by leveraging Holland’s expertise in floral creativity to create a much more unique park, I think the experience can be distinct,” Fang said.
Other than the 8.3-hectare floral park, which would include dining facilities, an exhibition site named Kaleido X would feature educational and entertaining shows to attract visitors.
The company hoped to open the first phrase of the project by late next year and bring the rest into service in 2020.
Under the proposal, the project would only be open to the public from October to May annually, when flowers were in season. Tickets were expected to cost from HK$120 to HK$230, with discounts for children and seniors.
Fang expected the garden to attract 1 million to 1.5 million people each year after the site was in full service, with a mix of 40 per cent locals and the rest tourists.
Tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said a selling point for the project was that the city did not have such a park in the past. He said the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge and the park could be packaged together to attract tourists who had visited Disneyland and its rival Ocean Park.
But Yiu warned that the park might find it harder to attract visitors after three years because the novelty value of a tourist attraction usually dwindled after that time.
He said operating costs would be an issue because the garden would only open for eight months each year. “It will depend on the reputation the garden develops in the first year and whether its marketing strategies are implemented well,” he said.
Disneyland previously said its expansion under phase one kicked off in late 2017 and would continue until 2023. The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau earlier said it was in talks with some companies to rent out the land for short-term entertainment events.