Hong Kong welcomes 100,000 visitors this month on 20 cruise ships, as Serenade of the Seas arrives for first-time visit
Hong Kong will have welcomed 100,000 visitors on 20 cruise ships by the end of the month, with first-time arrival Serenade of the Seas docking on Wednesday amid the tourism minister’s upbeat review of enhanced transport arrangements for passengers.

Visiting the cruise terminal in Kai Tak in the morning, Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said the industry had been kept busy, with four ships docking in the city overnight on Wednesday and Thursday.

“[Tourists] told me that they were looking forward to feeling the uniqueness of the fusion of Chinese and Western cultures in Hong Kong. I also took the chance to introduce them to activities in our ‘Art March’,” he said, referring to a string of high-profile events this month including Art Basel, the International Cultural Summit and ComplexCon.

Two of the four cruise ships, German vessel Mein Schiff 5 and Royal Caribbean International’s Serenade of the Seas, will stay at Kai Tak, with the latter arriving in the city for the first time during its world tour. The other two are set to dock at Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui.

They are among the 20 cruises either originating or stopping in the city this month, which are expected to have brought in 100,000 visitors, according to Yeung’s bureau.

Yeung said port operators, cruise lines, transport service operators and travel agencies had worked together to “tailor-make” options for passengers to get from the terminal to scenic spots and other sites in the city.

“The tourists were generally satisfied with the transport arrangement in the terminal,” he said, adding the government would continuously supervise the performance of operators.

Hong Kong tourism blueprint to revamp Kai Tak’s role, minister says

Last year, city authorities and port operator Worldwide Cruise Terminals, which operates Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, faced criticism over chaotic transport arrangements when Royal Caribbean International ship Spectrum of the Seas returned to Hong Kong for the first time in more than a year.

Tourists who arrived in the city in August complained of long waits for taxis and other modes of public transport, prompting immediate improvements such as temporary extra bus routes and incentives for taxi drivers that cost the government about HK$1 million.

Under the latest arrangements, six routes will be provided for visitors to travel from the terminal to different MTR stations such as Kai Tak, Kowloon Tong MTR Station, West Kowloon Express Rail Station, as well as Tsim Sha Tsui and other tourist spots.

Free shuttle buses are also available at the terminal to take passengers to the Kwun Tong Apm shopping centre, while paid routes are on offer to take visitors to areas such as Mong Kok and Causeway Bay at HK$80 and HK100 per trip, respectively.

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