For Immediate Release
The Hong Kong SAR Government announced yesterday that the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) will open on September 23. It also revealed that the number of destinations served by the XRL will increase to 44 Mainland cities, from the 18 originally planned. The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) welcomes the opening of the new rail link as this will help create more trade and tourism opportunities.
The six short-haul destinations served by XRL trains include Futian, Guangmingcheng - Shenzhen’s financial centre, and Qingsheng - a rapidly developing innovation and technology industrial zone.
Besides major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the 38 long-haul destinations also include popular tourist spots such as Shantou, Lufeng, Chaoshan and Guilin, which will help promote economic and trade exchanges and foster growth in tourism.
“The commissioning of the XRL will be of tremendous benefit to businesspeople, who travel frequently to and from the Mainland,” said Chamber Chairman Aron Harilela.
“By providing access to different cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) within the space of an hour, the XRL not only saves travelling time, but also enables the creation of a network of metropolitan areas that are within an hour’s distance from each other. This will help drive rapid economic growth in the GBA and facilitate cooperation between businesses in Hong Kong and the GBA.
“Through its extensive network of 44 Chinese cities including Guilin – a destination popular with visitors from Hong Kong -- the XRL is a key piece of transport infrastructure in developing nationwide tourism.”
Harilela expects the GBA to grow at a pace that equaled the speed of XRL trains.
With fares ranging from $78 to $1,240 respectively for short-haul and long-haul destinations, Chamber CEO Shirley Yuen considers these to be reasonable.
The frequency in the scheduling of trains is another advantage. It is expected that there will be 114 trains making daily round trips during peak periods, and 70-82 during weekdays and weekends.
In other words, there will be a train is available every 10 minutes during peak periods and around every 15 minutes during weekdays, which will be very convenient to those who travel often to the Mainland.
Yuen said the SAR Government has indicated that the frequency of trains will be subject to market demand, and promotional and concession fares may be available for tourists during non-peak periods or low season.
“These could attract more businesspeople and visitors to use the high-speed rail services thereby helping GBA to scale new economic and trade heights,” Yuen said.
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