A new rule for group tours has been implemented by the shuttle bus service provider of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao in an attempt to stem the number of tourists travelling to Tung Chung.
Tourists now have to register 24-hours ahead of their trip according to a statement released by the “Golden Bus” company on Friday.
Residents of Tung Chung have been complaining about the influx of tourists over the recently-opened bridge causing long queues on weekends.
Golden Bus also imposed a new rule that passengers from Zhuhai to Hong Kong must book in advance via the company’s WeChat account, or via the WeChat account of Zhuhai port’s ticketing system service provider. The Zhuhai port will only provide service for passengers to retrieve their tickets using QR code.
The firm said the measure was intended to divert passengers, so that they would not all be staying in the waiting area at the same time. Their waiting time would thus be shortened.
“[Golden Bus] will adjust the number of buses and the number of group tickets that can be reserved, in accordance with capacity deployment situation and the number of tourists,” it said.
The notice came after protests in Hong Kong calling upon residents to report illegal tour guides, as mainland travel agents are not allowed to operate in Hong Kong without a local liaison.
The Guangzhou Tourism Bureau issued an “urgent notice” demanding mainland tour groups encourage tourists to visit Hong Kong or Macau on trips lasting at least two days as opposed to day trips, and that they avoid weekend trips as much as possible.
The Bureau also said qualified tour leaders should be assigned to tours to Hong Kong and Macau, and should arrange for reception by destination travel agencies. The Bureau said Guangdong Province authorities will enforce the country’s tourism law strictly.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said the government had been monitoring passenger flow at the bridge to make relevant adjustments, and the effects on Tung Chung residents have eased.
Yau said temporary stalls will be set up at the bridge’s immigration building as early as this week, so that passengers who only wish to visit the bridge but not Hong Kong’s town area can remain in the port area.
He said the Transport and Housing Bureau has been doing a lot of work including discussion with Golden Bus to roll out the new arrangements. Yau also expressed gratitude for the mainland’s cooperation and repeated that mainland tour agents have to follow Hong Kong laws.