John Lee vows to showcase Hong Kong as ‘city of hospitality’ in push to attract more tourists during ‘golden week’ holiday

“We hope we can prepare well for the May 1 golden week holiday and be a city of hospitality, a city of courtesy and a city of good experiences,” he said in reply to a question on Hong Kong’s preparation ahead of the traditional holiday period.

Many mainlanders seize upon the five-day break that begins on May 1 to travel both at home and abroad, and Lee said that the government would actively prepare to host them. The Tourism Board and various sectors had already made preparations, he added.

Visitors pack the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront during the Lunar New Year holiday. Photo: Eugene Lee

Hong Kong’s Tourism Board said on Tuesday the city received 3.4 million visitors last month, a 38.6 per cent increase over the year before, with more than 70 per cent – or 2.47 million – coming from the mainland.

The city also recorded a 154.3 per cent increase in the number of visitors in the first quarter of the year compared with the same period in 2023, with 11.2 million visitors arriving in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong expects 11 million border crossings at Easter and Ching Ming Festival

In a keynote speech on Monday to mark National Security Education Day, Xia Baolong, director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, expressed confidence in the city’s economic outlook but said it should also seek and embrace changes instead of only relying on its traditional strengths.

He cautioned against using old thinking to solve new problems and urged the city to seek “constant breakthroughs”.

Lee said on Tuesday he had five takeaways from Xia’s remarks, one of them being that the city was going through a new phase of economic development.

1 million mainland Chinese tourists expected in Hong Kong for ‘golden week’

“Hongkongers can always find opportunities amid changes, and break new ground as well as create new miracles,” he said. “[We] should understand major trends and face the changes.”

The city leader praised local business operators in different sectors for grasping new opportunities, noting that they had made plans to cater to changing tourists demands and consumption patterns.

Hong Kong’s retail and catering sectors experienced a lacklustre Easter holiday as the city recorded an outflow of 1.7 million people. Only about 400,000 tourists came from over the border and abroad during the four-day break, which was not a mainland holiday.

Residents have also been heading north to spend since the borders reopened following the pandemic, citing better value for goods and services.


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