Jumbo, Hong Kong’s iconic floating restaurant, is on its way out due to financial difficulties.
Business Insider reported that Aberdeen Restaurant Enterprises, the restaurant’s parent company, announced last month that the tourist attraction would leave for a new home outside the city in June. The announcement came without a fixed date.
The restaurant’s close-down is sad news for Hong Kong residents and foreigners. Many tourists have long considered this elegant restaurant a must-see spot since it was established in 1976 by the late Macau casino tycoon Stanley Ho.
The restaurant has wowed worldwide visitors with its glamorous banquet meals and lavish design in Ming Dynasty imperial palace style for almost 50 years. It also hosted numerous notable figures and celebrities, including Queen Elizabeth II and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter.
Citing HK01 news, the Epoch Times reported that the restaurant’s parent company had listed high maintenance costs, a shortage of suitable berths, and an expiring restaurant license as its reasons for closing down.
Although the parent company has donated the restaurant, several enterprises and organizations have declined to take it over due to millions of dollars in high annual maintenance costs.
SCMP reported that the restaurant had reported an accumulated loss above HK$100 million ($12.74 million) after Covid flare-ups prevented tourists from coming.
According to the paper, former Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam promised in her 2020 policy address to revitalize the restaurant to facilitate the Island South Initiative. Then, the Hong Kong Ocean Park would take over the restaurant as a donation.
However, at a press conference on May 31, the former Hong Kong Chief Executive declared the operation would not be funded.
In addition, a 30-meter kitchen barge attached to the restaurant capsized at midnight on June 1, just two days after the restaurant’s announcement. The capsize even further exacerbated the company’s financial strain.
On June 01, seven Legislative Council members signed a joint letter to call on Hong Kong authorities to step in to preserve the Jumbo Floating Restaurant.
In a Facebook post, Lo Kin Hei, chairman of the Hong Kong Democratic Party, said, “The restaurant has an important role in both cultural conservation and historical inheritance. Otherwise, we will lose another distinctively well-known and celebrated attraction site here in Hong Kong.”