Xi’An, Qingdao join Hong Kong’s IVS list

Qingdao's skyline

The recent expansion of the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) to include Xi’An and Qingdao on March 6, 2024, has been widely welcomed by Hong Kong’s business events stakeholders.

This increases the number of designated Mainland cities eligible for the IVS from 49 to 51. The IVS Scheme allows travellers from Mainland China to visit Hong Kong and Macau on an individual basis; before this, Mainland residents could only visit on business visas or group tours.

The inclusion of two new cities will help boost business tourism; Qingdao’s skyline pictured

Catherine Kwok, general manager of World Harbour Travel Company (which deals with incentive travels from Guangdong), highlighted that while the policy facilitates easy access for leisure travellers, its long-term impact will be felt in the business events segment, and she anticipates a positive effect on “MICE traffic from the northern region”.

Similarly, Charis Yim, deputy general manager – commercial at Nina Hospitality, expressed optimism that the IVS expansion would further boost inbound business events traffic, benefiting Hong Kong’s economy and tourism sector. This comes as China is Hong Kong’s largest inbound business events market.

Ann Foo, director of sales and marketing at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, echoed this sentiment, further emphasising the Chinese market’s significance, which accounts for a significant portion of Hong Kong’s overnight visitors as well.

Foo shared: “We are actively pursuing opportunities from small- to medium-sized MICE groups from mainland cities like Xi’An and Qingdao by collaborating with our sister properties there to promote our hotel on digital platforms such as WeChat. These cities are renowned for their higher income levels and stronger purchasing power.”

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