The Individual Visit Scheme will be expanded to cover Xi'an in Shaanxi Province and Qingdao in Shandong Province starting from March 6.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government today thanked the central government for its positive response to the proposal of enhancing the scheme in an orderly manner and further expanding the eligible cities.

Secretary for Culture, Sports & Tourism Kevin Yeung said the further enhancement of the scheme is conducive to the development of Hong Kong's tourism sector and will benefit tourism-related industries such as hotels and retail.

He noted that expanding the scheme enables residents of both cities to explore and feel the unique metropolitan glamour of Hong Kong in a more flexible and convenient manner.

Both with a population of over 10 million, it is believed that Xi'an and Qingdao will bring more high-value-added overnight tourists to Hong Kong.

Mr Yeung said Hong Kong will be hospitable to visitors, making them feel at home and helping them enjoy the local unique culture. The Government will also continue to improve the city's capacity to receive tourists as well as ensure the smooth operation of boundary control points, tourist facilities, hotels and public transportation networks.

Hong Kong's capacity to receive tourists has been enhanced following the completion and optimisation of various large-scale cross-boundary infrastructure, tourist facilities, hotels and public transportation networks in the past few years, and the Government is confident in providing more tourists from different source markets with quality travel experiences.

Mr Yeung pointed out that the recovery of Hong Kong’s tourism industry was strong in the past year. In particular, during the Mainland’s Chinese New Year Golden Week, the number of Mainland visitors exceeded the level before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the overall number of visitors reached pre-pandemic levels.

Implemented in 2003, the scheme allows eligible residents of the designated Mainland cities to apply for an endorsement to visit Hong Kong in an individual capacity.

It was first introduced in four Guangdong cities, with the number of eligible cities gradually increased in the following years to a total of 49 Mainland cities in 2007. With the addition of Xi'an and Qingdao, designated Mainland cities eligible for the scheme will be increased to 51.

In 2018, tourists to Hong Kong via the scheme accounted for more than 60% of the total number of Mainland visitors, representing an important force in driving the business of tourism-related industries in Hong Kong.


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