HK travel industry welcomes chief executive’s policy address.

11 October 2001

HONG KONG - Hong Kong’s travel industry has welcomed initiatives announced in chief executive officer Tung Chee Hwa’s policy address yesterday, which seek to ease travel restrictions between Hong Kong and mainland China.

Dragonair’s chief executive officer, Stanley Hui, said: “As the biggest provider of flights to the mainland from Hong Kong, we are particularly positive about the abolition of the quota system for tours from the mainland, and the validity extension of multi-entry business visas.

“This, coupled with the development of new tourist attractions, will maintain Hong Kong’s long-term status as a preferred destination for mainland Chinese and overseas visitors.”

Currently, a quota system restricts the number of mainland visitors per day to 1,500. This will be abolished next January, Tung announced in his address. Business people will also be able to apply for multi-entry visas, valid for up to three years, rather than the current six months, and will be allowed to stay for fourteen days per visit.

Furthermore, all outbound agencies in mainland China will be allowed to organise tours to Hong Kong. At the moment, only four agencies are authorised.

The new measures could attract an additional 300,000 mainland visitors per year, earning US$1.5 billion in tourism receipts.

The South China Morning Post quoted Joseph Tung, executive director of the Travel Industry Council, as saying: “The abolition of the quota system and the decision to allow all mainland agencies to organise Hong Kong tours will give room for price reductions. And it could also improve our service quality and let agencies organise more feature tours.”

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