Hong Kong to ramp up cross-border bus services, train trips with 800,000 mainland Chinese tourists expected for ‘golden week’

Hong Kong to ramp up cross-border bus services, train trips with 800,000 mainland Chinese tourists expected for ‘golden week’

Hong Kong will increase cross-border bus services by 40 per cent and extend public transport operating hours along with a string of other measures to welcome more than 800,000 mainland Chinese tourists during the Labour Day “golden week” holiday.

The Transport Department had allocated an additional 40 per cent quota for cross-border bus operators to increase service frequencies during the mainland holiday between May 1 and May 5, a government spokesman said on Saturday.

He added that shuttle bus services at the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, both of which operate around the clock, would also be increased.

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While authorities said operating hours of other border crossings would remain unchanged, they had increased the number of frontline workers for the flexible deployment of staff to cope with the expected increase in visitors.

The spokesman said extra inspection counters and channels would be opened to ease passenger flow and additional security guards would be deployed at checkpoints to maintain order.

Rail giant the MTR Corporation said it would add 540 trips along seven lines to shorten waiting times on May 1 and over the weekend on May 4 and 5.

Hong Kong leader John Lee Ka-chiu said earlier that 5.9 million people were expected to cross border checkpoints over the holiday with the city gearing up for at least 800,000 mainland visitors.

A 10-minute fireworks display at 8pm on May 1 over Victoria Harbour will be a highlight to kick off the golden week.

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A shopping festival organised by the Yau Tsim Mong District Office and council will feature limited discounts offered by 2,200 businesses across malls, hotels and restaurants in Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok.

Taiwanese band Mayday will also perform seven shows at the Central harbourfront on April 30, May 1-3 and May 5-7, with an audience of 20,000 expected each night.

The MTR Corp said it expected an influx of mainland tourists to attend the concerts and would extend the departure time of the last northbound train from Admiralty to Lo Wu station from 11.01pm to 11.32pm on concert dates.

“The Lo Wu control point will also make corresponding arrangements for visitor immigration clearance procedures,” it said.

Bus operators KMB and Citybus will provide special services from the Central harbourfront to the Lok Ma Chau public transport interchange and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

Cross-border bus companies running services between Wan Chai and the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint will set up an additional stop in Central for out-of-town concertgoers.

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Dane Cheng Ting-yat, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said on Saturday that they were confident more than 800,000 mainland tourists would visit the city during the golden week holiday, 30 per cent more than in the same period last year.

“It is unrealistic to expect Hong Kong to return to the level of tourists in 2018 or 2019,” he told a television programme.

“Hong Kong residents would feel the pressure if so many tourists were to return, no matter where they are from. Tourists would also hope for a pleasant experience here and not feel overcrowded.”

In 2019, 840,000 mainland visitors arrived in Hong Kong in the first three days of the Labour Day holiday, a five-year high at the time. About 600,000 mainlanders visited in the same three-day period in 2018.



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