June 28, 2022

Hong Kong’s Jumbo Floating Restaurant, a famed however ageing vacationer attraction that featured in a number of Cantonese and Hollywood movies, was towed out of the town Tuesday after the Covid pandemic lastly sank the struggling enterprise.

The buoyant behemoth, which at 76 metres (250 ft) lengthy might home 2,300 diners, set out shortly earlier than midday from the southern Hong Kong Island storm shelter the place it has sat for almost half a century.

Designed like a Chinese language imperial palace and as soon as thought-about a must-see landmark, the restaurant drew guests from Queen Elizabeth II to Tom Cruise, and featured in a number of movies — together with Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion”, a few lethal world pandemic.

Designed like a Chinese language imperial palace, Jumbo was as soon as thought-about a must-see landmark Picture: AFP / Peter PARKS

The lavish restaurant’s operators cited the Covid-19 pandemic as the explanation for lastly closing its doorways in March 2020, after round a decade of economic woes.

Restaurant proprietor Melco Worldwide Growth introduced final month that forward of its licence expiration in June, Jumbo would depart Hong Kong and await a brand new operator at an undisclosed location.

Beneath overcast skies, a scattered group of onlookers gathered on the Aberdeen waterfront to see or not it’s dragged away.

The buoyant behemoth was 76 metres long and could house 2,300 diners The buoyant behemoth was 76 metres lengthy and will home 2,300 diners Picture: AFP / Peter PARKS

Watching the restaurant’s ponderous progress throughout the shelter waters was Mr Wong, a 60-year-old man who instructed AFP he had come specifically to see its departure.

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“The outside was for a few years a logo of Hong Kong,” he mentioned, including he had eaten there as soon as 20 years in the past.

“I consider it’ll come again and I look ahead to it,” he added wistfully.

One other spectator, who gave her title as Mrs Chan, mentioned she had heard the information and got here to take one final image by the restaurant earlier than it left.

Opened in 1976 by the late casino tycoon Stanley Ho, the Jumbo Floating Restaurant embodied the height of luxury Opened in 1976 by the late on line casino tycoon Stanley Ho, the Jumbo Floating Restaurant embodied the peak of luxurious Picture: AFP / Peter PARKS

“I feel it’s such a pity to see it go,” she mentioned.

“Jumbo has an extended historical past and it has attracted many locals and vacationers… It is a restaurant that is recognized to the world.”

Designed like a Chinese imperial palace, Jumbo was once considered a must-see landmark Designed like a Chinese language imperial palace, Jumbo was as soon as thought-about a must-see landmark Picture: AFP / Peter PARKS

Opened in 1976 by the late on line casino tycoon Stanley Ho, the Jumbo Floating Restaurant embodied the peak of luxurious, reportedly costing greater than HK$30 million ($3.8 million) to construct.

It featured a “dragon throne” within the type of the Ming dynasty in addition to an opulent mural.

The throne was fondly remembered by a type of watching the restaurant’s departure on Tuesday, a 24-year-old man surnamed Leung who mentioned he had all the time begged his mom to let him sit on it once they visited for dim sum.

“There are fairly some childhood reminiscences for me,” he mentioned. “I really feel a bit unhappy. (Coming right here) to see it’s like bidding my farewell.”

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Aberdeen harbour was historically a hotspot for seafood eateries — and fierce competitors for patrons solely cooled when Jumbo’s operators acquired its greatest competitor, Tai Pak Floating Restaurant, within the Nineteen Eighties.

The restaurant was stored afloat by Hong Kong’s booming tourism trade however its reputation had dimmed lately even earlier than the coronavirus hit.

Restaurant operator Melco mentioned final month the enterprise had not been worthwhile since 2013 and cumulative losses had exceeded HK$100 million ($12.7 million).

It was nonetheless costing hundreds of thousands in upkeep charges yearly and round a dozen companies and organisations had declined an invite to take it over at no cost, Melco added.

In her 2020 coverage handle, Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam introduced plans to show the restaurant over to native theme park Ocean Park for revitalisation, however the undertaking fell by way of after the park mentioned it couldn’t discover a appropriate operator.

The ailing restaurant’s destiny was sealed simply days earlier than Lam is ready to go away workplace.

The derelict kitchen boat might be left behind, in line with native media.