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HK Ready to Receive 'Golden Week' Tourists

Hong Kong Tourism Commission (TC) has joined hands with various government departments and the tourism industry in drawing up measures to fully prepare for the possible surge of visitors from the Chinese mainland during the National Day Golden Week period (around Oct. 1 and 7).


Eva Cheng, Commissioner for Tourism said earlier in the week that "we are ready to meet the challenge of another record-breaking Golden Week holiday. The current indications are that about 500,000 visitors may arrive from the Chinese mainland over the 10-day period."


She said the National Day Golden Week has been the traditional peak travel period for Chinese mainland tourists and Hong Kong hasalways been a popular destination. The coming Golden Week period starts and ends with a weekend, and with the newly opened Hong Kong Disneyland, it is expected that the number of Chinese mainland visitors will increase by about 10 percent as compared with last year.


The government has pledged to make the best possible preparations to receive visitors. The measures adopted for the previous Golden Weeks were proven effective and demonstrated the capacity of Hong Kong in receiving large volume of visitors.


Similar measures will continue to be adopted and the departments will flexibly deploy resources according to the situation. The Tourism Commission reminds the tourism-related sectors, in particular the retailers and catering sectors who are on the front-line, to provide high quality and value-for-money services to the mainland visitors.


The Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong will also continue to implement measures in enhancing consumer protection for visitors. Various tourism related departments have been ready to implement flexible measures to allocate human resources for tackling the possible increase of tourist arrivals during the holidays.


Hong Kong will also increase the capacity of transportation facilities and step up promotion and information dissemination to visitors on consumer protection.


Hong Kong Immigration Department has added additional 250 staff members to enhance the work at various boundary control points. A joint commanding headquarters have been established by Hong Kong immigration, Police, Customs, transportation departments, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation and Shenzhen departments concerned for monitoring and controlling tourist flows at Lo Wu, Hong Kong's biggest land boundary control point.


The Tourism Commission encourages Chinese mainland tourists who are planning to visit Hong Kong during the Golden Week period to use the Lo Wu Boundary Control Point, which has a larger handling capacity, to enter and leave Hong Kong. They should also consider adjusting their journey to avoid crossing the boundary at morning and evening peak hours.


Hotel room reservation during the holidays has been one of the big concerns for the tourism industry. According to the Hong Kong Hotels Association, the hotel room occupancy rate during the coming Golden Week will reach 84 percent, almost the same as that of last year's same period.


Hong Kong has about 50,000 hotel rooms at present. To offer every tourist to Hong Kong a hotel room during the holidays, the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong has required all the travel agencies to confirm hotel room reservations before receiving any tourist groups.


Hong Kong's retail sector is also optimistic about the turnover of the Golden Week, expecting an increase of 10 to 40 percent of turnover. A number of department stores and other kinds of retail shops opened on Friday, in an effort to have a share of "Golden Week Cake." Sogo opened on Friday its new store in Tsim Sha Tsui, one of the downtown areas in Hong Kong, one day before the National Day and about 40 percent of its consumers are expected to be tourists.


Hong Kong jewelry stores also expect to increase their turnover by 30 to 40 percent during the Golden Week. The three Gold jewelry stores obtained 50 million HK dollars (6.45 million US dollars) during last Golden Week and the stores expect to win more turnover. They predict that the Chinese mainland tourists may purchase more diamond pieces in the coming Golden Week.


Quite a number of stores and shops have offered 20 to 30 percent of discount for holiday consumers.


Hong Kong tourism departments said that with the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland and establishment of more tourism resources next year, Hong Kong is expected to grow into a family destination in the coming years.


(Xinhua News Agency September 30, 2005)


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