With the Labor Day "Golden Week " only days away, Hong Kong's tourism-related sectors are busy preparing for the influx of more Chinese mainland tourists during the holidays from May 1 to May 7.
It is estimated that a total of 380,000 tourists will visit Hong Kong during the week and 80 percent of them will be visitors on the Individual Visit Scheme.
Jumbo Floating Restaurant, which used to roam along the Victoria Harbor, prepares to offer Hong Kong's first ever daily seaboat singing and dancing performance for customers while providing delicious sea food, in an effort to attract more tourists.
Large department stores as Time Square and Habor City have already decided to provide more services for customers, specially those from the Chinese mainland.
So far, about 50 percent of the shops in the two major shopping centers in Hong Kong have been equipped with devices for checking Renminbi and part of those shops can process Renminbi credit cards.
Time Square will also dispatch staff members who speak fluent Mandarin to offer consultative service for Chinese mainland customers. Mobile phone cards sale and mobile phone battery free recharge will also become new service items at the service center.
In addition, customers can also deposit their baggage at the service center at the Time Squire so that they can enjoy better shopping at Time Square. To add a new tourist attraction in Hong Kong, the "Avenue of Stars" will officially open to the public Tuesday along the Victoria Harbor.
The 440-meter-long avenue already has the handprints of over a dozen famous Hong Kong film makers and stars who have made great contribution to Hong Kong's film making industry. And nine "milestones" on the avenue introduce the 100- year history of Hong Kong's film industry. In addition, Hong Kong's tourism departments will also arrange multi-media music laser shows between May 1 and May 9.
A total of 18 buildings along the Victoria Harbor will be installed with laser lights. Fireworks will also be launched with the airing of music. In a related development, the Tourism Commission (TC) has co- ordinated with various government departments and the tourism industry in drawing up measures to prepare for the possible surge of visitors from the Chinese mainland during the holidays.
The measures aim at improving the flow of visitors through various boundary control points, increasing the capacity of transportation facilities, and stepping up promotion and information dissemination to visitors on consumer protection and health matters.
Commissioner for Tourism Eva Cheng said: "Hong Kong is a popular destination for Chinese mainland tourists. We expect a large number of arrivals from the Chinese mainland during the Labor Day Golden Week".
Cheng said the measures adopted for the last National Day Golden Week, Christmas and Chinese New Year were effective and demonstrated Hong Kong's capacity to receive a large volume of visitors.
Cheng added that "with the extension of the Individual Visit Scheme to the whole of Guangdong Province on May 1 and further to nine other cities in Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Fujian on July 1, 2004, we have made the best possible preparations, constantly reviewed the effectiveness of measures adopted, and continued to improve our service quality. We endeavor to enhance the travel experience of every visitor to Hong Kong."
Meanwhile, she reminded visitors and tourism players to remain vigilant and maintain good personal hygiene.
"The Travel Industry Council has already reminded the trade to comply with guidelines issued by the Department of Health (DH) and continue to take appropriate precautionary measures to protect visitors' health. The travel trade and DH will maintain close liaison. DH will closely monitor the situation, inform the tourism sector on the latest developments and provide appropriate health advice," said Cheng. She said "we will continue to maintain close liaison with the Guangdong Provincial Tourism Administration regarding the visitors ' travel pattern."