Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has recently received its first large-scale tourism inspection group from the Chinese mainland since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing renewed hope for greater cross-border tourism collaboration. The delegation, consisting of 120 mainland tourism practitioners from 38 cities, embarked on a five-day tour of the city organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board to promote the city.
The board has also arranged familiarization trips for about 700 travel and media representatives from various places such as the mainland, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and India from December 2022 to April. On the first day of their tour, the delegation visited some of Hong Kong’s flagship cultural landmarks, including the Hong Kong Palace Museum, the M+ museum, and Old Town Central. In the following days, they will explore more attractions and discover the charm of the international metropolis.
HKTB Executive Director Dane Cheng Ting-yat emphasized the importance of “seeing is believing” and expressed his hopes that the practitioners can convert their personal experiences into innovative tourism products, which will help promote Hong Kong’s appeal and attract visitors to return soon.
Zhou Lei, assistant general manager of Beijing Spring Travel Service, praised the Hong Kong Palace Museum, stating that compared to the Forbidden City in Beijing, it is more delicate and international, providing tourists with new experiences. He also found the M+ Museum’s art exhibitions “gorgeous” and believed they would attract many young tourists from the mainland and overseas.
Samuel Xia Yongping, head of the Greater Bay Area department of China International Travel Service Shenzhen, plans to develop more tourism products around Hong Kong in the near future, including group tours, high-end tours for families, and study tours for business people. He also intends to offer weekend tours for mainland residents living in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, as many of them enjoy spending their weekends in Hong Kong. The itinerary may include hiking on the MacLehose Trail, an overnight stay at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, and camping at Ocean Park.
Xia has seen a surge of mainland tourists inquiring about Hong Kong tours since regular travel resumed between Hong Kong and the mainland. He expects the city to experience a tourist peak around the May Day holiday soon.
Zeng Miao, director of products of BCTS Travel Services in Sichuan province, believes that the trip has shown him that the COVID-19 pandemic did not prevent Hong Kong from improving its attraction and competitiveness. On the contrary, the visionary city has made many efforts and preparations for a new start after the pandemic.