More mainland visitors are expected to come to Hong Kong this week following the shortening of the Labour Day 'golden week' holiday to three days, according to Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung.
The Immigration Department said yesterday the number of cross-border passengers leaving and coming to Hong Kong during the Labour Day holiday period was expected to be 12 per cent up on last year.
The Labour Day 'golden week' holiday has been cut to one day in the list of public holidays on the mainland this year, forming a mini 'golden week' between May 1 and 3.
'The new holiday arrangement is actually beneficial to Hong Kong,' Mr Tung said.
'Mainlanders cannot do long trips, as they cannot afford to spend a lot of time travelling, so they will come to Hong Kong for the holidays, especially those who live in the Pearl River Delta.'
He also cited the weak Hong Kong dollar as another factor luring mainland tourists to the city.
'Mainland visitors find that it is really a good bargain to do shopping in Hong Kong with the stronger yuan and the weak Hong Kong dollar, as everything seems to be cheaper,' Mr Tung said. 'Hong Kong is, therefore, quite an attractive option for them when they have a shorter holiday.'
The department said cross-boundary traffic was expected to be heavy later this week, with about 1.39 million passengers - an average of 278,000 daily - passing through the Lo Wu control point between April 30 and May 4.
The busiest day at Lo Wu for passenger flow to Hong Kong was expected to fall on May 1, when about 163,000 passengers would arrive, while on May 3 the northbound traffic would be very busy with about 170,000 people leaving Hong Kong.