8 more mainland Chinese cities to join Hong Kong’s solo travel program, ‘a timely boost’, says hotel representative.

by Alice

The inclusion of eight additional Chinese cities in Hong Kong’s solo travel scheme has been hailed as a timely boost for the hotel and retail sectors by a seasoned industry representative. This move, initiated by Beijing, expands opportunities for citizens to visit Hong Kong without the constraints of group tours.

Announced on Saturday, the extension of the individual visit scheme encompasses several remote cities in China, including Urumqi in Xinjiang, Lhasa in Tibet, and Hohhot in Inner Mongolia. Additionally, newly added cities consist of Taiyuan, Harbin, Lanzhou, Xining, and Yinchuan – all serving as capitals of their respective provinces.


Commencing from May 27, residents from these regions will have the freedom to visit Hong Kong independently for stays of up to seven days. Originating in 2003, the individual visit scheme permits residents from designated mainland cities to travel to Hong Kong without mandatory tour group participation, availing them of single-entry or double-entry visas valid for three months or a year.


This marks the second expansion of the scheme in three months, with Xian and Qingdao being added in February, bringing the total number of mainland cities covered under the scheme to 51.


Alan Chan, Chief Operations Officer of Miramar Group, described this development as a timely boost for local tourism-related industries, particularly amid historically slower periods like May and June. With approximately 17,000 vacant hotel rooms per day across Hong Kong, accommodating the influx of visitors from the new cities poses minimal challenge, according to Chan.

Highlighting the significance of visitors from provincial capital cities, Chan emphasized their potential as long-haul travelers who are more likely to opt for overnight stays, thereby contributing to Hong Kong’s economy. Chief Executive John Lee echoed this sentiment, noting the large population, substantial economic growth, and high spending power of the newly included cities.

Despite the gradual relaxation of Covid-related travel restrictions since early last year, Hong Kong’s tourism sector has witnessed a sluggish recovery, with international tourist arrivals lagging behind those from mainland China.



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