Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Thursday, Feb 09, 2023

Hong Kong travel sector appeals for more lenient coronavirus rules for tour groups

Hong Kong travel sector appeals for more lenient coronavirus rules for tour groups

Travel agents ask for permission for tour groups to eat in private areas of restaurants and visit attractions.

Representatives of Hong Kong’s travel sector are pressing the government to grant special privileges to tour groups so they can eat in private areas of restaurants and visit attractions, instead of restricting their movements for three days of Covid-19 medical surveillance on arrival, a senior industry executive has told the Post.

Timothy Chui Ting-pong, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Association, on Saturday said about 100 of the 1,600 travel agencies remaining in the city had shut down for good after suffering through nearly three years of pandemic restrictions that had brought business to a standstill. One of the city’s most venerable providers, Hong Thai Travel Services, announced on Friday it was dissolving after profits dried up.

While the government has scrapped many of the most onerous pandemic controls, such as hotel quarantine, city leader John Lee Ka-chiu has made it clear brushing aside the remaining restrictions would not happen any time soon, so the tourism industry is focusing its lobbying efforts on fine-tuning the rules for tour groups, according to Chui.

“There’s nothing we can do now,” he said. “We only pin our hope on fine-tuning the ‘0+3’ regime to allow inbound travellers to eat in a private setting in restaurants and visit theme parks and museums during the three days of medical surveillance.”

Under the “0+3” regime, all arrivals undergo medical surveillance for three days, during which they cannot visit certain premises such as restaurants and bars, and must conduct regular rapid Covid-19 testing.

Timothy Chui Ting-pong, the executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Association.

Chui said the government should roll out easing measures as quickly as possible, otherwise many industries would be left in tatters, noting both the stock and property markets had suffered recently due to the lack of flow of people and capital.

“Reviving the tourism industry is crucial, as it can boost the development of other industries and the overall economy by bringing in people and capital to the city,” he said.

“Now whether the travel firms will continue to endure the hardships is only a matter of confidence about their future. The government should give inbound travellers some exemptions to give the industry a shot in the arm.”

Conceding the relaxed “0+3” coronavirus arrangement did not provide much benefit to the tourism industry, Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said the government had to consider a range of factors in any fine-tuning of the policy for inbound travellers.

“We need to make appropriate arrangements to restrict inbound travellers to certain destinations and designated settings in a restaurant so they won’t disturb other people,” he said. “We also need to minimise their human contact with local people to prevent the spreading of the pandemic.”

Hong Thai’s parent company, Caissa Tosun Development, on Friday said its board of directors agreed that the business should be wound up, noting the pandemic had undercut its business in Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong province. As of Saturday, the Travel Industry Authority had received 32 public inquiries in relation to Hong Thai Travel Services.

Gianna Hsu Wong Mei-lun, chairwoman of the Travel Industry Council, said that if the government was not prepared to drop the remaining travel curbs, it should adjust the “0+3” regime to allow tour group members a greater degree of freedom, including eating in restaurants’ private dining rooms and visiting theme parks.

“If there is no immediate removal of coronavirus restrictions, at least the government should fine-tune the existing ‘0+3’ scheme to relax the restrictions for travellers coming via tour groups,” she said.

Hong Kong on Saturday reported 5,383 coronavirus infections, 372 of which were imported and eight more related deaths. The city’s Covid-19 tally stands at 1,908,732 cases and 10,373 related fatalities.


Related Articles

Hong Kong News
China has declined the US's request for Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to speak with Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe after the US Air Force shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon, according to the Pentagon
The five largest oil companies in the West generated combined profits of nearly $200 billion in 2022, which has led to increased calls for governments to impose tougher windfall taxes
2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
Hong Kong airlines taking bold action after the years of pandemic lockdown and travel restrictions, to make Hong Kong great again
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
Chinese search giant Baidu to launch ChatGPT like AI chatbot.
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?