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Expansion of individual travel scheme welcomed in HK

By WU MENGLEI in Hong Kong | China Daily | Updated: 2024-05-14 09:12

Allowing more mainland cities to issue individual travel endorsements will boost Hong Kong's tourism sector and contribute to its continued growth and development, tourism and retail industry insiders said.

Residents of eight more cities on the Chinese mainland will be allowed to visit Hong Kong and Macao independently from May 27, according to the National Immigration Administration. They could previously only visit on group tours. Fifty-nine cities are now part of such schemes.

The new cities include Lhasa in the Xizang autonomous region, Lanzhou in Gansu province, Xining in Qinghai province, and Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

From March 6, the administration allowed Xi'an in Shaanxi province and Qingdao in Shandong to issue individual travel endorsements for trips to Hong Kong and Macao.

News of the expansion of eligibility saw the share prices of tourism and gaming companies listed in Hong Kong rise on Monday.

Pang Yiu-kai, chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, welcomed the expansion of the Individual Visit Scheme.

"The central government's inclusion of new cities in the IVS twice in three months reflects its full support and confidence in Hong Kong," he said. "It is also a gift for Hong Kong's tourism industry."

Liza Ng, CEO of Greater Bay Airlines, said she is confident the initiative will boost the development of various industries and Hong Kong's overall economic development.

The Hong Kong Retail Management Association said retailers in the city are determined to seize business opportunities by taking advantage of the central government's expansion of the scheme.

At the annual general meeting of the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce on Friday, a chamber spokeswoman said, "Hong Kong's tourism industry can look toward more supportive measures from the central government to overcome the difficulties we are facing now."

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