Mainland Chinese tourists visited Tung Chung in large numbers on Sunday via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, sparking complaints from residents.
Shops and restaurants in Tung Chung, the area closest to the bridge’s pier, were filled with tourists, as residents raised concerns about overcrowding. According to government figures, 102,919 people entered or left Hong Kong via the bridge on Sunday.
Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker Holden Chow, who is also a Tung Chung district councillor, admitted that the number of tourists had caused serious trouble to shops and residents in the area.
“It is not even possible for residents to buy basic items,” he told an RTHK radio programme on Monday.
Chow said the large number of tourists waiting for the B6 bus to the bridge’s Hong Kong port caused issues for residents as a long queue formed. Tourists had to wait for hours to get on the bus.
He said he had asked the police to manage the queue. He suggested that the station for the B6 bus should be moved further away from the area’s centre, to a location such as the empty square outside the Ngong Ping 360 cable car.
He also said buses from other locations in Hong Kong to the bridge should be brought online as soon as possible, and there should be more shops and restaurants set up at the Hong Kong port of the bridge.
Jason Wong, chair of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong, said tourists in Tung Chung were mostly joining tours to experience the bridge. They remained in Tung Chung as they only had a few hours to visit the city.
Wong told an RTHK programme that over 1,000 individual tourists – not registered with the travel council – arrived on Sunday.
He said the council will have to communicate with the mainland tourism industry and urge them to use pre-booked bus service for tourists to leave Hong Kong, instead of using public transport.
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Tung Chung resident Mr Ng said the area “no longer looked like Hong Kong” over the weekend.
“The ground was filled with used plastic water bottles,” he said on the RTHK programme. “I suspect that it was because they were given a bottle of water each after getting buses [to Hong Kong], and they threw the bottles everywhere when they were in Tung Chung.”
Another resident, Mr Wan, said the long queue had blocked residents from walking in the area, and they were forced to go to other areas to eat: “I agree with moving the station for the B6 bus. It is too close to the residential area.”
Roy Tam, a Neo Democrats party district councillor, said there must be a limit to tour groups using the bridge.
“These unregistered cross-border tour groups are taking advantage of Hong Kong,” he said.
Tam said his understanding was that tourists only had to pay up to HK$200 to join such groups: “It is because they used public transport – the B6 bus. They should not be allowed to use the B6 bus, which is public transport.”