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Weekend sets record for HK-Shenzhen travel

By WANG XU in Shenzhen, Guangdong | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-08-10 19:58

Passengers at Futian Railway Station in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The growing connectivity between Shenzhen and Hong Kong saw another boost as the two cities broke new records in cross-border travel over the past weekend.

According to the Shenzhen General Station of Exit and Entry Frontier Inspection, over 253,000 entries and exits were recorded at the Huangganh and Durian checkpoints and through the No 1 channel of Futian Free Trade Zone on Aug 5, with more than 140,000 trips being inbound only.

The Huanggang checkpoint saw over 23,000 inbound trips, while Futian checkpoint recorded over 207,000 entries and exits. Both represented the highest single-day records since customs operations resumed after the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Huanggang updated its record the next day when over 49,000 trips were made in both directions on Aug 6.

Hong Kong's West Kowloon Station reached a milestone on Aug 6 as more than 100,000 train trips were successfully completed.

According to the West Kowloon checkpoint, over 10 million individuals have crossed the border via the station from Jan 15 to Aug 4. Notably, during the summer season, there was a substantial 34.7 percent surge in passenger numbers compared to the period before the epidemic. Among these individuals, over two-thirds comprised mainland residents, while roughly one-third hailed from Hong Kong and Macao.

A spokesperson from the Huanggang checkpoint told China Daily there is a growing trend among residents of Hong Kong, Macao, and the Chinese mainland to travel frequently between these regions and this pattern is particularly prominent during weekends, with over 60 percent of incoming and outgoing travelers beinf from Hong Kong and Macao.

"A significant number of individuals from Hong Kong and Macao use the Huanggang checkpoint to enter and exit during the early hours of the morning. These passengers are most attracted to Shenzhen due to its thriving business environment, expansive variety of products, reasonable prices and various initiatives implemented by the government to encourage consumption," the spokesperson said.

However, among the checkpoints in Shenzhen, Futian has gained popularity due to its convenient location, efficient immigration process, connectivity and vibrant surroundings.

"I think most Hong Kong residents prefer Futian because it provides a convenient and efficient transit option, with easy connections to the MTR Lok Ma Chau Spur Line and Line 10. Additionally, the customs clearing process at this checkpoint is fast and effective, further contributing to its popularity," a Hong Kong traveler who goes by Law told China Daily.

Yu Qiang, a professor at Beijing Technology and Business University, said several factors hold responsibility for the surge.

"The continuous efforts of both cities to enhance transportation infrastructure have significantly improved connectivity. Moreover, the strong economic ties between Shenzhen and Hong Kong have played a crucial role in driving cross-border travel," Yu said, adding the seamless flow of people between the two cities has fostered greater collaboration and exchange of ideas, further solidifying their positions as global economic powerhouses and vibrant cultural destinations.

Chen Junyu contributed to this story.

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