Last updated: 02:30 PM ET, Mon April 13 2015

China Announces Restrictions on Local Travel to Hong Kong

Destination & Tourism | Patrick Clarke | April 13, 2015

China Announces Restrictions on Local Travel to Hong Kong

Photo courtesy of Hong Kong tourism

China's central government in Beijing has announced restrictions on mainland travel to neighboring Hong Kong as a recent inpouring of tourists has raised several concerns as well as tension among local residents.

According to the Associated Press, Shenzhen's public security bureau will cease to issue multiple entry visas to travelers and instead supply once-a-week travel passes.

Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-yin said on Monday that the new policy was "suggested by the Hong Kong government and adopted by the Central authorities," adding that "anything that increases tensions between Hong Kong and mainland society is not tolerated."

As for the overall impact on tourism, roughly 4.6 million mainland Chinese travelers visited Hong Kong multiple times per week last year. In total, 47.3 million mainlanders visited Hong Kong in 2014, signaling a massive 16 percent rise from 2013. 

As a result, as much as one-third of Hong Kong's retail sales came from mainland travelers.

What's more, Shenzhen residents with multiple visit passes accounted for 30 percent of the 4.6 million mainland visitors who traveled to Hong Kong more than once a week in 2014.

According to a report from the official Xinhua news agency cited by the AP, "the unceasing growth of mainland residents traveling to Hong Kong... growing pressure on mainland and Hong Kong immigration ports" and a "growing contradiction between visitor numbers to Hong Kong and Hong Kong tourism's capability" is what ultimately inspired China's central government to alter the travel policy. 

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