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Visit scheme fine-tuned 2015.03.30
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TALKS with the mainland about curbs on Shenzhen (深圳) residents with multiple-entry permits are continuing and no decision has yet been reached, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (商務及經濟發展局局長) Gregory So Kam-leung (蘇錦樑) said.

Responding to reports in Ta Kung Pao (大公報) that mainland authorities have come up with several proposals to limit the number of daily visits by Shenzhen residents, So said: “When considering any suggestion, we need to take into account the effects on tourists or particular groups of people.”

He said an announcement will be made once tweaks to existing visit schemes have been decided.

So said travel and retail industries have expressed concern that recent rallies against parallel trading have affected arrivals, particularly those who visit for business.

So said the protests will affect overall tourism development and he believes they will have an impact on how the problem will be addressed.

He said the central government will consider various factors in fine-tuning policies already in place.

Ta Kung Pao, Beijing’s mouthpiece in Hong Kong, interviewed Zheng Tianxiang (鄭天祥), an expert from Guangzhou’s (廣州) Sun Yat-sen University (中山大學), who suggested limiting the visits to two trips each day.

The newspaper said such a restriction was aimed merely at curbing crossborder trading and was subject to adjustments in future.

Zheng, a specialist in cross-border infrastructure, said it is necessary to balance Hong Kong’s economic development, local jobs and convenience of Shenzhen residents. Travel Industry Council (香港旅遊業 議會) chairman Michael Wu Siu-ieng (胡 兆英) described it as a moderate proposal that will not seriously affect retailers.

Tourism-sector lawmaker Yiu Siwing (姚思榮) said limiting the number of trips will not affect the shopping experience of genuine tourists.

Sun Hung Kai Properties (新鴻基地產) confirmed earlier it is joining hands with Henderson Land (恒基地產) to provide an area for a mainlandertargeted shopping project near the Hong Kong-Shenzhen border. Because the idea is for rows of “shops” assembled from shipping containers on car park spaces, it could be in business in time for the October ‘Golden Week’ (黃金周) holiday rush from the mainland.

(The Standard, staff reporters, 20 March, 2015)

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