March 21, 2007

Red faces, not red carpet: Hong Kong sweats over bad air and luxury liner fiasco

This appeared on about the QM2 recent visit to Hong Kong:

HONG KONG — It was touted to be the event of the year for Hong Kong's cruise industry.
.But when the posh cruise company Cunard's flagship, Queen Mary 2, came a-calling during its maiden voyage around the world, officials turned red-faced when the liner, the world's largest, was forced by a lack of facilities to dock at the city's busy container terminal.

Mr Paul Leung, chairman of the Outbound Tour Operator's Association trade group said: "It was all a disaster … forcing the passengers to go to the container terminal was awful. What does it say about a place when it doesn't have a cruise terminal?"
.The issue, coupled with a negative seminar by a high-profile passenger on board the Queen Mary 2 about Hong Kong's increasing air pollution, became fodder for the local dailies for days last week.

.British academic John Reich, who was an on-board adviser to passengers on what to do during port calls, had recommended that well-heeled travellers stay away from the city.
."Hong Kong is extremely polluted," archaeologist Reich was quoted as telling passengers, before denigrating the city's top tourist attractions.

."There is no point going up The Peak as you will see nothing. Of course, the view is sometimes obscured by fog," he reportedly said of the Mount Victoria summit, which on clear days offers the best view of the harbour.


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