Travel agencies oppose plan for Beijing Imperial Palace

Yesterday, a group of representatives from 20 travel agencies handed a letter to the Land, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) which opposes the bureau’s plan for the land plot of the former Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel, specifically seeking the suspension of any current plans for the plot by the department.

Earlier this year the DSSOPT proposed that future buildings on the land be limited to a maximum height of 70 meters and 140 meters on the two respective parts of the former Beijing Imperial Palace Hotel’s land plot.

According to the DSSOPT’s plan, the construction of hotels on the land is still a possibility.

The letter contained opinions from about 200 people across the travel agencies, all complaining about the bureau’s plan.

In 2017, after the government announced the closure of the hotel, the group filed a lawsuit against the owner of the hotel. According to Wong Fai, the group’s representative, the hotel owes them nearly MOP100 million for the preorder of approximately 70,000 guest room nights.

Wong said that since the closure of the hotel, the owner has not contacted the tour agencies to provide a solution for a refund. In 2017, the group filed two lawsuits against the relevant land plot and property.

The lawsuits are ongoing, with trials expected to start within the year. The group believes that until the lawsuits are settled, the government should not make any plans for the land.

In addition to the lawsuits from this specific group of victims, the land plot and its relevant property owners are involved in other litigation.

“The amount of debt is tremendous, which gives reason to the victims to worry about the owners’ capability of paying it back. That causes instability over the land’s future development,” said Wong. “Thus, we believe it is unsuitable to make plans for the land plot.”

The group suggests that “the government is about to change, and that there are many projects involving livelihood and public interests that need to be solved urgently.”

“There is indeed no need for the government to conduct such urgent public consultation and make a plan for such a controversial land plot and property which involves many lawsuits.”

Wu Keng Kuong, president of the Travel Industry Council of Macau, who also spoke at yesterday’s press conference, said that if the government continues planning for the land plot, he will consult the lawyers advising on the two lawsuits before the group take further legal procedures.

The legal cases are being brought against Macau Hotel Developers Limited, as well as offshore company Victory Success Holdings Limited, which owns the hotel’s titles.

The lawsuits have been funded by travel agencies and individuals.

The group expects a payout of nearly MOP100 million, which would cover compensation for payments the group had previously made to the hotel, as well as reparations for breach of contract.

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