Visitors take pictures outside Harbour City shopping mall in Tsim Sha Tsui on Dec 20, 2022. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong’s tourism sector is seeing the start of a rebound as the resumption of normal travel between the special administrative region, the Chinese mainland and the rest of the world boosts travel enthusiasm, industry insiders said.
According to the Airport Authority, the passenger count at the Hong Kong International Airport in December jumped ninefold to 1.6 million from the same period a year earlier, with the most notable increase recorded in travel to and from Southeast Asia and Japan. Meanwhile, flight movements increased by 8.7 percent year-on-year to 15,770.
Airport Authority Chief Executive Fred Lam Tin-fuk said optimism has been steadily rising since the SAR government relaxed travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for inbound travelers in the second half of the year
Airport Authority Chief Executive Fred Lam Tin-fuk said the airport endured another challenging year in 2022 as the impact of the pandemic continued, but optimism has been steadily rising since the SAR government relaxed travel restrictions and quarantine requirements for inbound travelers in the second half of the year.
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“We also have a good start to 2023 with the resumption of normal travel with the mainland. We are confident that passenger traffic will continue to recover at HKIA,” Lam added.
Hong Kong Ocean Park also recorded its highest number of visitors since April last year, said Ocean Park chair Paulo Pong Kin-yee, adding that Chinese mainland and overseas tourists visiting Hong Kong and the theme park will increase gradually.
Pong said the gradual easing of cross-boundary restrictions and the resumption of the high-speed rail services will have a positive impact on local tourism, hotels, catering, retail, and other industries.
Among representatives of the Hong Kong tourism industry who met with their Macao counterparts on Monday to exchange information on the development of tourism between the two cities, Hong Kong lawmaker and tourism industry representative Perry Yiu Pak-leung said he was hopeful that there would no longer be any quota for cross-boundary travel between Hong Kong and the mainland after the Chinese New Year.
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To attract more mainland travelers to visit Hong Kong, the SAR government should also make visas for tour groups available by February, Yiu added.