Hong Kong welcomes 43,000 mainland Chinese visitors on first day of ‘golden week’ break

The Post observed foot traffic at the station’s concourse was busy but not overcrowded, even as trains dropped off visitors at intervals as short as five minutes apart, with passengers swiftly clearing out and travelling into the city.

Tourists arriving at the terminus said they were looking forward to sampling a wide range of activities and experiences over the break.

Zhang Jiao and her son were among Wednesday’s early birds, opting to take a spontaneous trip to Hong Kong together for the first time.

The e-commerce freelancer, who is in her thirties, said she and her eight-year-old son earlier made a trip to Shenzhen from Hangzhou, before deciding to look up places to stay and things to do in Hong Kong.

“My son has a school holiday from April 28, so together with the five days from the golden week holiday, there’s altogether eight days for us,” she said.

“We were already in Shenzhen and thought why not take a trip to Hong Kong? I’m thinking of visiting The Peak, the Avenue of Stars, and the Golden Bauhinia Square.”

Hundreds of travellers were seen arriving in Hong Kong through the West Kowloon high-speed rail terminus. Photo: Jelly Tse

Zhang said she was also keen to shop at the city’s duty-free stores, adding she expected to spend about 4,000 yuan (US$552) on accommodation, food and transport for both of them.

Cao Ziwei, a legal professional in her twenties from Zhejiang province, said she and her boyfriend were travelling to Hong Kong after researching some local hotspots.

“We want to go to the University of Hong Kong, the Palace Museum and The Peak,” she said.

The couple had also downloaded the Octopus app to their phones as they were concerned some places might not accept Alipay.

They planned to go sightseeing for most of the three-day trip and spend about 10,000 yuan, Cao said.

“It’s our first time in Hong Kong. We’ve seen many shows about the city and want to see for ourselves where they were shot,” she said.

Bad weather, weaker yuan could hit Hong Kong restaurants hard over ‘golden week’

Tako Kei, a 30-year-old Guangzhou resident and regular traveller to Hong Kong, said he and his wife were heading to the city to see a concert by Taiwanese rock band Mayday, estimating they would spend about 3,000 yuan on the short trip.

“We are only staying for tonight, and are planning to return to Guangzhou tomorrow,” he said. “We’ve been to Hong Kong many times so we don’t have a must-do or must-see list while we are here. We will play it by ear.”

Director of Immigration Benson Kwok Joon-fung said the city’s control points operated smoothly on Wednesday morning, adding more visitors were expected to arrive in Hong Kong later.

Kwok also said the department was well prepared for the influx of mainland tourists as it deployed additional personnel to the borders.

“Some tourists may choose to visit the city later because of the rains this morning,” he added.

Cloudy weather with showers and severe squally thunderstorms were expected on Wednesday, which might upset plans for the city to host a fireworks display at night intended to welcome tourists from across the border.

Hong Kong is expected to welcome at least 800,000 mainland visitors over the extended weekend break running from Wednesday to Sunday.

Local immigration officials earlier predicted that the first day of the break would see peak travel at land border crossings, with a million trips in and out of the city on Wednesday alone.

The city also expected a total of 5.9 million arrivals and departures during the holiday.

Hong Kong to ramp up cross-border bus services, train trips for ‘golden week’

The city plans to host a wide range of activities to welcome mainland tourists, including a 10-minute fireworks display starting at 8pm on Wednesday.

The pyrotechnics show over Victoria Harbour will see fireworks form patterns such as smiley faces and the letters “HK” as they shoot up to 100 metres (328 feet) into the night sky.

The event was timed to coincide with a shopping festival organised by the Yau Tsim Mong District Office and council, which offers limited discounts from 2,200 businesses across malls, hotels and restaurants in Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok.

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