Visitor traffic to Ngong Ping 360, one of Lantau’s biggest tourist draws, fell 11% last year, while the number of mainland tourists to Lantau posted an even sharper decline.
Just 1.62m people took the cable car or visited Ngong Ping in west Lantau, down from 1.83m in 2014 and 1.67m in 2013. However, because the number of operating days was also down due to weather conditions and maintenance, the decline in visitors per day was just 3.6%, Ngong Ping 360 said in a statement.
Just 469,800 mainland and Macau visitors took the cable car last year, 17% below the 2014 level and accounting for three-fifths of last year’s decline in overall numbers.
The company, a subsidiary of MTR Corp., did not address the reasons for the lower number of mainlanders, but instead cited the drop in overnight visitors to Hong Kong, which it attributed variously to visa relaxation measures in Southeast Asia, the completion of new large-scale tourist attractions nearby and foreign currency shifts.
The cable car began service in 2006, offering an aerial journey across the northern flanks of Lantau Peak to the Ngong Ping Temple 5.7km away, It has carried 14.7 million passengers since opening.
The Lantau Development Advisory Committee has proposed extending the cable car to Tai O village, six to seven kilometres away. Managing director Stella Kwan said a feasibility study was underway and would be completed in the third quarter of the year.
She said in order to improve Lantau as a tourist destination the Hong Kong government would have to “enhance the connections between locations, as well as the current transport network and ancillary facilities.”