Too early to conclude new policy impact while tourists dip: HK official
Updated: 2015-07-06 12:55
HONG KONG - In regard to the fallen tourism numbers in June, Hong Kong's economic official said on Sunday that it will take a year to see the full impact of the new one trip per week policy for Shenzhen visitors to Hong Kong.
Speaking to reporters after the Hong Kong Dragon Boat Carnival, Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Gregory So said that the number of tourists coming under the Individual Visit Scheme had recorded a 5 percent year-on-year decrease in May, and a 10 percent fall from June 1 to 28.
So said that it is premature to see what the overall impact the one trip per week policy will have as it has only been implemented for about three months.
Hong Kong is facing fierce competition from neighboring regions, with many relaxed their visa requirements, and the changes in exchange value are also affecting the traveling habit of tourists, So said.
In the first quarter of 2015, both Japan and Thailand saw a 90 percent growth in number of mainland visitors, while Vietnam recorded a 60 percent increase, South Korea, 36 percent, according to So.
Under the new one trip per week policy, Shenzhen residents who hold multiple-entry permits can only visit Hong Kong once a week instead of without limit.
The Individual Visit Scheme, begun in 2003, now allows residents of 49 mainland cities to visit Hong Kong in an individual capacity rather than in tour groups.
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