Big welcome for nearly 6m tourists

Michael Shum

Some 5.9 million tourists are expected to pass through Hong Kong’s border checkpoints during the Labor Day golden week holiday – with around one million traveling on Wednesday, the Immigration Department says.

Ng Hoi-ka, the department’s boundary vehicles division commander, said around 5.05 million people will pass through Hong Kong’s ports.

”The ports will be busiest on Wednesday, with some one million people passing through the checkpoints,” Ng said.

The heaviest traffic is expected at Lo Wu, with an average of 200,000 people passing daily, followed by Lok Ma Chau Spur Line, with 170,000 people daily, and Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, with 130,000 daily crossings.

”We expect 800,000 mainland tourists entering Hong Kong throughout golden week,” Ng said. “Most are expected to use the High Speed Rail West Kowloon Station to get in and out of Hong Kong.”

She reminded locals to avoid crossing during peak hours and to use the Immigration Department’s app to check waiting times at all border control points.

Ng said since the northbound travel for Hong Kong vehicles scheme started last July, the number of vehicles passing through the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge has increased.

”Border checkpoint usage is currently three times of that before the scheme was rolled out, and we believe it will further increase during golden week,” she said.

The department has already reduced the number of staff on leave so manpower can be flexibly deployed to open additional e-channel and traditional counters as well as vehicle inspection lanes, Ng said.

”At the same time, the Immigration Department will set up a joint command center with relevant departments and organizations to monitor the scene at border control points in real time and respond promptly,” Ng said.

”We will also maintain close contact with our mainland and Macau counterparts, and take appropriate measures when necessary to ensure a smooth immigration clearance for travelers.”

As a treat to visitors, a 10-minute pyrotechnic display will light up the sky above Victoria Harbour at 8pm on Wednesday, the Hong Kong Tourism Board said.

”The display will be fired at about 130 meters from the shore and shoot up to a maximum of approximately 100 meters, with different patterns, including the initials of Hong Kong as well as a happy face, brightening up the evening sky,” the board said.

”The best vantage point will be on the Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade, close to East Tsim Sha Tsui.”

It added the display cannot likely be seen from the seaside between Hong Kong Cultural Centre and the Avenue of Stars.

Separately, Kowloon Motor Bus will start selling HK$55 one-day passes that will allow tourists to board any KMB bus in 24 hours, including all day and night routes, racecourse routes and even routes to and from border checkpoints and the airport.

michael.shum@singtaonewscorp.com

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