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Reducing the number of some visitors while increasing the number of others

During a media standup last week, I said that we had to implement policies to reduce the number of some visitors and increase the number of others to regulate the number of people visiting Hong Kong.

I said that those visitors whose number was to be reduced were parallel traders operating between Hong Kong and the Mainland, since parallel trading is not a kind of activity that tourists would normally engage in.

Thanks to the support of the Central Government and the concerned local government of the Mainland, the policy proposed by the Special Administrative Region Government to reduce the number of these visitors has already come into effect. Starting from Monday (April 13), the "multiple-entry" Individual Visit Endorsements for Shenzhen permanent residents visiting Hong Kong have been replaced by "one trip per week" Individual Visit Endorsements. This measure is targeted at parallel traders only. Shenzhen residents are still welcome to come to Hong Kong as tourists.

The policy to increase the number of other visitors is equally important. We welcome tourists from all over the world, including the Mainland of China. As announced by the Quality Tourism Services Association today, the HAPPY@hongkong Super JETSO 2015 tourism campaign will be launched over five weeks from April 27 to May 28. Over 10,000 shops and restaurants will participate in the campaign, providing promotional offers such as half-price discounts on selected jewelry items and concessionary admission to Ocean Park and other tourist attractions. To attract more tourists, especially overnight tourists, the Hong Kong Tourism Board will continue to launch large-scale publicity events in the second half of this year.

Hong Kong is a popular tourist destination renowned for its hospitality. Tourism is a pillar of our economy, providing essential employment opportunities for the grassroots. With the implementation of the above policies, I believe that we can strike a balance between our capacity to receive tourists and the development of our tourism industry to ensure that tourism will continue to contribute to our economy and employment.

April 16, 2015