Guangdong, Macau business travellers remain cold to Come2hk Scheme

Most visitors to Hong Kong under the scheme enter via Shenzhen Bay Port

Although The Come2hk Scheme – which enables non-Hong Kong residents to enter the destination via Guangdong Province and Macau – was resumed on September 15, it has yet to yield as much corporate travel traffic as it was anticipated to achieve.

Despite a daily quota of 2,000, government statistics showed that some 4,301 visitors were received between September 15 and 28. Among them, 3,816 arrived via Shenzhen Bay Port while the rest used the Hongkong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Hong Kong Port.

Most visitors to Hong Kong under the scheme enter via Shenzhen Bay Port

China Travel Service (H.K.)’s general manager, George Kai, told TTGmice that the majority of scheme users were Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) travellers. Business travellers are reluctant to utilise the scheme, as they would still be subject to quarantines upon their return to Guangdong or Macau.

Kai added that while the pandemic situation has stabilised and more small- to medium-size corporates were restarting their events and exhibitions, those activities were attracting mostly the domestic audience.

What would be helpful in restarting Hong Kong’s business travel and events traffic, Kai suggested, was the reciprocal easing of quarantine restrictions for travellers returning from Hong Kong.

While Wharf Hotels’ president, Jennifer Cronin welcomed the scheme, she pointed out that corporate travel would be slow to return as extra layers of approval are currently required for corporate trips, and many organisations have gotten used to virtual meetings, conferences, and tradeshows.

“The limited corporate travel we see involves longer stays and consolidated itineraries, while there’s still a wait-and-see approach for non-essential travel,” Cronin said.

Cronin added that she’s “hopeful” that Hong Kong’s vaccination rate will improve to a point where the destination will be able to “form travel corridors with other countries” and “alleviate pent-up demand”.

“As long as borders remain restricted, the knock-on effects to society and the economy will be increasingly worrisome,” she said.

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