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Monday, February 11, 2019, 11:23
HK tourism leaders call for upgrade
By Li Bingcun
Monday, February 11, 2019, 11:23 By Li Bingcun

Representatives from Hong Kong’s tourism sector on Sunday said the city needs to invest more in improving tourist facilities and to develop more sites for visitors which have interesting local characteristics.

To offer new experiences to tourists, Yiu suggested the government further maximize the potential offered by Hong Kong’s old districts such as Yau Ma Tei and Sham Shui Po

They made the call as two newly commissioned cross-boundary infrastructure projects — the West Kowloon Station of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge — contributed to a significant increase in passenger traffic during the Spring Festival holiday from Feb 5 to 7.

Around 3.03 million passenger trips were made to or from Hong Kong during the Spring Festival break — up 22 percent from last year’s holiday — Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said in his weekly blog on Sunday.

More than 270,000 trips were recorded at the West Kowloon Station, while the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge handled passenger traffic of around 400,000 people. Both saw record high numbers since they had started operating late last year, Cheung noted.

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Tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing believes the two cross-boundary infrastructure projects have deepened links between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland. They will keep attracting mainland tourists to the city and contribute to economic growth, he predicted.

“Previously, most people came to Hong Kong for shopping. In recent years, more and more tourists have shown a tendency to explore the city’s unique culture and history,” Yiu said.

To offer new experiences to tourists, Yiu suggested the government further maximize the potential offered by Hong Kong’s old districts such as Yau Ma Tei and Sham Shui Po.

With more “in-depth” tourist spots and routes, tourists could immerse themselves more deeply in Hong Kong’s culture. This could also encourage economic growth in these old districts, he added.

Yiu also called for more investment to improve tourist facilities to help the city stand out amid fierce competition among popular tourist destinations.

He believes more land should be allotted to building hotels with upgraded facilities to meet rising demand. Traditional tourist attractions, such as Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park, also need to be expanded and upgraded to compete with their mainland counterparts, Yiu added.

Timothy Chui Ting-pong, Hong Kong Tourism Association executive director, said that to attract more tourists, the city should also improve tourism-related services — such as transport and clearance procedures.

Citing the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge as an example, he said that to make Hong Kong-bound trips more convenient for tourists, clearance procedures should be streamlined; and more cross-boundary bus shifts should also be provided.

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“At least double (bus) shifts could cope with these needs,” Chui said. Currently One Bus Hong Kong Macau offers about 40 shifts of buses between the Hong Kong port and Macao port of the sea-crossing bridge. Kwoon Chung Bus Holdings operates about 400 shifts departing from its three ports.

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