The Hong Kong Observation Wheel, a popular tourist draw at the Central harbourfront, saw its operations wound down on Tuesday without any advance notice to the public.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) said it did not receive any prior notice from the wheel’s operator regarding the termination of the service, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The closure apparently stemmed from expiry of the operator’s land lease contract.
Located close to Pier no. 9 and no.10 at the Central Piers, the giant wheel, featuring a height of 60 meters, was opened to the public in December 2014.
The Development Bureau said it invited open tenders for short-term lease of the harbourfront site last year, following which a new party put in a successful bid.
The bureau had notified the current operator that its contract was set to expire on Monday, and that the Temporary Places of Public Entertainment License of the operator would expire on the same day.
The operator agreed to offer refunds to people who had booked tickets in advance and were caught unawares by the sudden closure.
The former operator and the incoming one are now discussing the relevant transition arrangement of the wheel service, according to the Development Bureau.
The bureau said it depends on business arrangements of the new operator and the time required for receiving the relevant license, as to when the Observation Wheel can be put back in operation.
The bureau had also told the former operator that it should appropriately notify the public about the closure of the wheel.
According to reports, under the tenancy terms, there is no specific requirement for the winning bidder to operate the existing giant Ferris wheel at the site.
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