Hong Kong Residents Make Over 1.3 Million Border Crossings During Dragon Boat Festival, Outnumbering Inward Visitors by Threefold

by Alice

During the recent Dragon Boat Festival holiday, Hong Kong residents embarked on over 1.3 million trips across the border, surpassing inbound visitors by more than three times, according to data from the Immigration Department. This significant outbound trend has raised concerns within the retail industry, signaling a departure from traditional expectations of increased business during major holidays.

Statistics released by the department revealed that from Friday to Sunday, 1.3 million residents left Hong Kong, while only 424,840 arrivals were recorded. Notably, 89% of departing residents utilized border checkpoints with mainland China, such as Lo Wu and West Kowloon Station, indicating a preference for northern destinations during the long weekend.


Despite being a public holiday across the border, mainland arrivals to Hong Kong during the festival totaled 333,692, further exacerbating the outbound trend. This imbalance has impacted the local economy, with over 74 million outbound trips recorded from May 2023 to April this year, surpassing the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong over the same period.


Jonathan Leung Chun, spokesperson for the Association of Restaurant Managers, highlighted the shifting dynamics of peak holiday seasons, noting that increased sales and foot traffic can no longer be guaranteed. Concerns have been raised about Hong Kong’s competitiveness, especially compared to neighboring cities like Macau, which has witnessed a surge in visitors.


Calls for increased support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have been reiterated, with Eric Chung Pok-man from the Hong Kong Department Stores and Commercial Staff General Union emphasizing the challenges posed by the city’s expensive currency. Suggestions to raise the duty-free tax threshold for mainlanders and promote two-way travel between Hong Kong and Greater Bay Area cities have also been put forth.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Algernon Yau Ying-wah acknowledged the changing consumption patterns and increased spending of Hong Kong residents on the mainland, posing challenges to local SMEs. Government initiatives aimed at assisting SMEs and promoting diversified markets are underway, with plans for over 100 “mega events” in the second half of the year.

Despite efforts to stimulate tourism and economic activity, recent figures from the Census and Statistics Department indicate a significant decline in total sales in April, exacerbated by the mass exodus of residents over Easter. As Hong Kong grapples with economic challenges and shifting consumer behavior, initiatives to bolster domestic spending and enhance competitiveness remain imperative.



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