The Chamber was delighted to organize a trip across the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao bridge shortly after it opened recently. Members not only had the opportunity to meet with officials and businesses in Zhuhai, but also did so following a speedy and efficient bus journey to the city.
Whether you are heading to Macao for a day trip, visiting Zhuhai for business or travelling further into the Mainland, the new bridge offers time and efficiency savings. And what is more important than time for busy Hong Kong people?
There have been a few teething problems – such as the unexpected number of visitors coming over the bridge and into Tung Chung on the weekends. But we understand that the authorities on both sides of the border are working to better spread the flow of tourist traffic.
At the same time, the fast train line to Guangzhou has been running for a couple of months now, and already I am hearing from businesspeople how it is cutting their travel time within the Greater Bay Area (GBA).
It seems that the connections to high-speed services beyond Guangdong are also attractive to Hong Kong residents. At our Christmas Cocktail Reception last month, a number of fellow members told me of their plans to take the train to various destinations in the Mainland during the holiday season.
The new transport links have quickly made their presence felt in the tourism and retail figures, which were up 11.5% and 5.9% year-on-year, respectively, in October. The Tourism Board has stated that this growth was mainly due to the express rail link and bridge.
These faster connections are crucial for Hong Kong to play its part in the rapidly developing GBA. And we have no doubt that the GBA will, in turn, play an increasingly important role in Hong Kong’s continued growth and success.
It is still early days for the GBA, and there are still areas where we need further clarification – such as movement of people across the border, and tax status for people working in Mainland China. We hope to have further clarification on these issues soon.
In the meantime, as 2019 gets underway, I am sure many of you are looking forward to exploring the train or road options to travel to the Mainland – if you have not done so already. At the Chamber, our purpose is to make life easier for companies in Hong Kong, and these faster, more efficient transport networks certainly fit in well with our vision of smoother cooperation and enhanced business ties.