Date
17 December 2017
Organizers of a Lantau forum Sunday kept a picture of Development Bureau secretary Paul Chan on an empty chair, after the bureau failed to send a representative. Photo: Facebook
Organizers of a Lantau forum Sunday kept a picture of Development Bureau secretary Paul Chan on an empty chair, after the bureau failed to send a representative. Photo: Facebook

High-end eco-tourism can help save country parks: academic

Hong Kong should promote high-end ecological-tourism, rather than just shopping and sightseeing tours, in the territory, an academic said, pointing out that such strategy can help preserve the country parks on Lantau Island.

At a forum “Where will our Lantau go” held on Sunday, Yiu Chung-yim, associate professor at the department of geography and resource management at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the government’s development plans for Lantau may not necessarily be a good idea, Apple Daily reported.

High-end eco-tourism can yield economic benefits with greater significance for the long term, Yiu suggested.

The comments came as some people had earlier called on the government to consider building apartments in the country parks on Lantau as part of efforts to tackle the problem of high home prices in the city.

The Development Bureau had promised that there won’t be any such move before the term of the current Leung Chun-ying administration ends in 2017. But Leung, in his annual policy address last week, said he hopes some rules can be stipulated for development of the parks.

Lam Chiu-ying, former director of the Hong Kong Observatory and a strong advocate for preserving natural ecological resources, said Lantau should not be assessed from the perspective of economic value alone.

Leveling the mountains will make Hong Kong unfit for human habitation, he said.

He also said that the government should consider making the most of the land in places like Tin Shui Wai in Yuen Long and the golf area in Fanling, instead of creating more land through landfills in east Lantau.

Ho Kin-chung, president of environmental group Green Power and a member of the Lantau Development Advisory Committee, said that while some development cannot be avoided in Lantau, the government should keep the scale under control and also factor in the environmental assessment in any development blueprint.

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TL/AC/RC

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