Chinese mainland tour groups arrive in HK, Macao in boost for regional economies
Published: Feb 06, 2023 07:49 PM
This photo taken on Feb. 3, 2023 shows the customer service center at the Lo Wu Station of Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway (MTR) in Hong Kong, south China. Photo: Xinhua

This photo taken on Feb. 3, 2023 shows the customer service center at the Lo Wu Station of Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway (MTR) in Hong Kong, south China. Photo: Xinhua

The Chinese mainland fully resumed normal travel with the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions (SARs) on Monday, with the first batch of mainland visitors arriving in the two SARs and searches for trips skyrocketing. 

The enthusiasm among mainland travelers to visit Hong Kong and Macao was palpable on Monday, as various travel agencies launched the first batch of group tours and announced plans for more group tour products, offering a solid boost for the two regional economies.

Shanghai Spring Tour said its first tour group for Hong Kong departed from Shanghai and will include visits to Victoria Harbor, the new landmark Hong Kong Palace Museum, Golden Bauhinia Square and other scenic spots.

Macao also saw the first group of 27 mainland visitors on Monday morning. While six other mainland tour groups of 135 tourists departing from places including South China's Guangdong, Shanghai and Northeast China's Liaoning also arrived in Macao, China Central Television (CCTV) reported.

On Friday, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council announced the full resumption of travel between the mainland and the SARs starting on Monday. On the same day, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism also said that travel agencies will resume organizing outbound and inbound group travel to Hong Kong and Macao beginning Monday.

After the announcements, searches for travel to Hong Kong and Macao jumped more than threefold, with searches for group tours to the two SARs soaring 180 percent, showed data Chinese online travel platform sent to the Global Times.

The platform said that it has launched nearly 100 group tour products for Hong Kong and Macao. "The mainland has always been an important source of tourists for the two cities. The resumption of group travel will give a boost to mainland consumers' demand for outbound travel," said Jiang Wen, CEO of's group tour services.

Lvmama, an online travel agency, told the Global Times that inquiries and bookings for one-day trips to Macao have maintained continuous growth since January, becoming a best-seller on the platform. The firm will launch more tourism products for Hong Kong and Macao to meet mainland tourists' demand.

Along with the adjustment of outbound flights in February, the number of flights to Hong Kong and Macao also increased. 

As of February 1, there were nearly 270 direct flights per week between the mainland and Hong Kong, with more than 20 percent of fares being lower than the same period in 2019, public data showed.

As an important part of Hong Kong's tourism industry, the cruise industry also restarted recently. has released Royal Caribbean cruise tours that depart from Singapore and travel through Hong Kong.

In order to promote the recovery of cruise travel, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has come up with five measures including offering greater support to cruise liners, introducing Hong Kong's cruise travel experience to residents in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as well as attending large-scale international cruise expos.

HKTB chairman Pang Yiu-kai said in a statement sent to the Global Times that the bureau is confident that Hong Kong's vibrant East-meets-West culture, together with iconic and brand-new attractions and immersive experiences, will attract travelers back.

"Hong Kong is back on the map for global travelers, with more excitement to offer than ever before. We are extending the biggest welcome to the world through the 'Hello Hong Kong' campaign, inviting friends from everywhere as they return to one of the world's greatest tourism destinations," Pang said.

Hong Kong is expected to dole out 700,000 free airline tickets to global travelers between March and September, and discounts will be given to travelers for shopping at 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, Hong Kong SAR Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po wrote in his blog on Sunday.

For Macao, "a conservative estimate is that Macao's tourism sector could recover to at least 80 percent of the pre-pandemic level," said Cheung Kin Chung, member of the Legislative Assembly of the Macao Special Administrative Region and chairman of the Board of Directors of China Travel and Tourism Agency (Macao), CCTV reported.

The resumption of group tours will support a swift tourism industry recovery in Macao and stimulate the confidence of the tourism, hospitality and other industries, reflecting the advantage of the One Country, Two Systems, Cheung said.