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Saturday, December 9, 2023

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Boosts Tourism and Trade with Mainland China

ChinaHong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Boosts Tourism and Trade with Mainland China

In a bustling morning ritual, the Zhuhai land port in South China’s Guangdong Province welcomes a surge of Chinese mainland tourists crossing the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge on their way to Hong Kong and Macao. For these travelers, public buses departing every five minutes provide a convenient means of transport.

Meanwhile, weekends and holidays see a growing trend among Hong Kong and Macao residents, as they increasingly venture to mainland China. Some are drawn to Guangdong’s delectable cuisine, while others have purchased homes on the mainland and now commute to work in Hong Kong.

One such resident is Yang Junyun, who frequents the mainland for car-wrapping services. He attested, “I typically come here to get my car wrapped; it’s cost-effective and efficient.”

The Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, located in the Lingdingyang waters of the Pearl River Estuary, connects Hong Kong’s Lantau Island to Zhuhai in Guangdong Province and the popular tourist destination of Macao. Since its opening to traffic in 2018, official data reveals that residents from Hong Kong and Macao have made 19.8 million trips to the mainland through the port, comprising 55 percent of the total. In August 2023, this number reached 1 million, marking a 2.2-fold increase compared to the same period in 2019.

Presently, the bridge accommodates an average of 50,000 inbound and outbound passengers daily. Pan Yanqian, vice president of the Zhuhai Tourism Association, notes that the bridge is now enticing not only mainland residents but also Hong Kong residents, who opt for weekend and holiday getaways to western Guangdong via the bridge.

In recent years, the number of vehicles traveling through the highway port of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge has notably increased, particularly after the implementation of northbound travel schemes for vehicles from Macao and Hong Kong.

The “Northbound Travel for Macao Vehicles” scheme, in place since December 2022, allows eligible vehicle owners from Macao to enter Guangdong through the bridge after securing clearance through appointments. Seven months later, a similar scheme called “Northbound Travel for Hong Kong Vehicles” was launched, enabling eligible Hong Kong private car owners to travel between Hong Kong and Guangdong Province via the bridge without regular quotas. The scheme received over 4,000 applications by late June.

The bridge port’s “one-stop” system checkpoint ensures that the inspection and clearance process for vehicles takes just 20 seconds. To enhance customs clearance efficiency, the port has introduced a “joint inspection and one-time release” customs clearance procedure, reducing passenger exit inspection waiting times by 50 percent.

Efficient customs clearance procedures have also significantly bolstered the logistics sector, streamlining the transportation of items such as aquatic products. This has led to increased freshness in the products, positively received by the people of Hong Kong.

The value of aquatic products exported to Hong Kong through the bridge reached 2.46 billion yuan from January to August this year, marking a year-on-year increase of 30.6 percent.

The Zhuhai land port now serves as the primary departure point for essential materials to Hong Kong residents from the western bank of the Pearl River. Fresh mainland food items, construction project equipment, and goods valued at over 700 billion yuan have passed through the port as of October this year, establishing it as a critical conduit for trade and connectivity with mainland China.

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