A group of 18 tourists from Hong Kong arrive at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport on Feb 15, 2023. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)
A group of 18 tourists from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region arrived at Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Wednesday evening.
It was the first tour group from Hong Kong to visit Zhejiang since the Feb 6 resumption of normal travel between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.
"The last time I was in Hangzhou was in 2003," said 74-year-old Wong Shuk-yee, a veteran actress in the group.
Wong was doing film work at Hengdian World Studios in Jinhua and had one day off to hastily travel around a couple of cities, including Hangzhou.
Two tourists from Hong Kong take a selfie at the Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Feb 15, 2023. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)
"I am very excited and looking forward to it," she said of the upcoming trip. "I expect to take this opportunity to learn more about Hangzhou, especially West Lake, and try the authentic Dongpo pork and other specialties."
Over the next five days and four nights, the group will go to various tourist attractions, including West Lake, the Lingyin Temple and the newly restored Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) Deshou Palace in Hangzhou. The tourists will then visit other places in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.
The arrival of the group marks the revival of inbound tourism in Hangzhou, Zhejiang and the East China region, said He Junmin, an official with the Hangzhou bureau of culture, radio, TV and tourism.
A tour group from Hong Kong takes a group photo at the airport in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, on Feb 15, 2023. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)
"We hope they will have an unforgettable journey," said He, who was part of the reception group at the airport.
The city will spare no effort in helping with the recovery of the tourism industry and spurring consumption, he added.
Recently, local authorities have introduced a raft of measures to encourage travel and spending.
For instance, Hangzhou's Shangcheng district, where the Deshou Palace is located, rolled out a 28-point policy package in early January offering free admission to all attractions in the first quarter of this year. Travel agencies will be given up to 300,000 yuan ($43,788) if they can attract tour groups to the district and use its hotels.