Hong Kong to Macau Bridge Could Soon Include World-Class Entertainment Destination on Artificial Island

Posted on: May 1, 2019, 01:23h. 

Last updated on: May 1, 2019, 01:26h.

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is an architectural marvel, and with the infrastructure’s authority requesting bids from developers interested in constructing a world-class entertainment destination on one of its artificial islands, the 34-mile sea crossing is set to become even more astonishing.

Macau bridge Hong Kong casinos
The final artificial island before the Macau bridge reaches Hong Kong (nearest illuminated island seen here) could become home to an entertainment resort. (Image: Kin Cheung/AP)

The South China Morning Post says the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Authority has requested proposals from companies for the overall planning of a tourism and entertainment attraction on the bridge’s easternmost artificial island just off Tung Chung on Hong Kong’s Lantau Island.

The goal is to ease congestion in Tung Chung where the bridge ends and busses and cars begin making the roughly 30-minute drive to downtown Hong Kong.

The more than $15 billion bridge cuts automobile travel time between Hong Kong and Macau from three and a half hours to just 45 minutes (speed is restricted based on wind conditions). Linking the two Special Administrative Regions (SARs) is helping grow mass market tourism to the world’s richest gambling hub.

Casino operators are bullish on developing and expanding non-gaming amenities, as well as MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibition) space. Being more accessible to Hong Kong’s airport – the world’s No. 8 busiest air hub – makes Macau a more desirable location for such business events.

Slowing Chinese Enthusiasm

Since the bridge’s October opening, there’s been plenty of complaints regarding congestion in Tung Chung. The entertainment proposal is a plan to give travelers who are there just to experience the bridge an option from completing the journey into Hong Kong.

Chinese tourists have shown great enthusiasm for the colossal structure as a symbol of China’s engineering prowess and have flocked in large numbers, although this has led to the tensions with local residents of Tung Chung on Lantau Island in Hong Kong who have complained about being inundated by mainland Chinese visitors,” SCMP journalist He Huifeng explained.

The final island on the bridge measures around one million square feet in area. The bridge authority hasn’t revealed whether any of Macau’s six licensed casino operators have submitted proposals. A staff member dealing with the bids, however, told the SCMP that the authority “is open for any concept or style.”

Greater Bay Area

Casinos dominate the Macau economy, with associated gaming taxes accounting for nearly 90 percent of the enclave government’s operating budget. But People’s Republic President Xi Jinping wants to create a “Greater Bay Area” hub reminiscent of California’s Silicon Valley.

There has been plenty of opposition to those plans, as Macau locals believe China is looking to assume more governing power over the tax haven that remains an autonomous region with its own separate government.

Hong Kong and Macau both partake in China’s “one country, two systems” scheme that allows the regions to not engage in socialism for at least 50 years – set to respectively expire in 2047 and 2049.

Macau Liaison Officer Director Fu Ziying – who represents the enclave in Beijing – met with SAR government leaders in March where he advised them to reduce the region’s reliance on casino taxes by diversifying the economy.