Full resumption of cross-border travel to boost recovery of Hong Kong's economy: financial secretary
Published: Feb 05, 2023 04:42 PM
People shop and relax at Causeway Bay in Hong Kong on January 2. Photo: cnsphoto

People shop and relax at Causeway Bay in Hong Kong on January 2. Photo: cnsphoto

The full resumption of cross-border travel between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), set on Monday, will rev up business, tourism and other economic activities in Hong Kong and bring more optimistic expectations for the city's economy, HKSAR Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said on Sunday.

Hong Kong's economy this year will outperform last year's, but there remains some external challenges and uncertainties while it requires time for the recovery of flights, the influx of tourists as well as increase in investment, Chan wrote on his blog.

He said the authorities have been stepping up efforts to revive the economy of the international financial and trade hub.

Hong Kong is expected to dole out 700,000 free airline tickets to global travelers between March and September, while discounts will be given to travelers for shopping at the 16,000 retail stores, restaurants and scenic spots in Hong Kong. In addition, the city will hold more than 300 events and trade expos to showcase its unique advantages and opportunities to the world, according to Chan.

On Sunday, Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu kicked off his eight-day visit to Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, aimed at promoting the city's economic links with the region. 

The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (HKGCC) projected that the city's GDP will likely grow by 3.8 percent in 2023. 

Businesses in Hong Kong are cautiously optimistic that the worst may be behind them, with 40 percent of the respondents expecting an increase in trade turnover in 2023 compared with last year, according to a survey released by the HKGCC in early January.

Cross-border travel between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong and Macao would fully resume starting from Monday, with existing quotas and a mandatory COVID-19 test to be phased out.

Group tours between the mainland and Hong Kong and Macao would also resume, while the number of customs checkpoints in operation will return to pre-pandemic levels, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office said in a statement on its website on Friday.

Global Times