SCMP, April 17, 2001: A three-day Octopus travel pass for tourists has been a big success, generating millions of dollars for the MTR, but is unlikely to ease pressure for fare rises. The Mass Transit Railway Corporation said it had received positive feedback on its Airport Express Tourist Octopus - also known as the three-day Hong Kong Transport Pass - since its launch in November. But the new source of income, expected to provide about $10 million a year, is unlikely to ease pressure to raise fares, which are under review. The corporation said the extra income from the pass would not have a significant impact on fare adjustments. 'There are lots of elements we need to consider when we are carrying out our annual review of fares, such as the economic climate and the people's ability to shoulder the burden of any fare rises,' a spokesman said. The passes cost $200 each and entitle passengers to one Airport Express single journey, three days of unlimited MTR rides, $20 usable value for other major transport services and vending machines and a $50 refundable deposit. Only non-Hong Kong residents who stay in the SAR for less than two weeks can buy the cards. The corporation said a survey of 500 tourists in December and January found that about half knew of the pass and 20 per cent had bought one. 'Most of them felt it was convenient and a huge improvement from the old one, which only offered two Airport Express rides. But some have suggested we should add a few days more to the card,' marketing manager Jeny Yeung Mei-chun said. 'We draw the present line at three days, which is the average stay of a visitor in Hong Kong.' Ms Yeung said sales of the passes had been satisfactory, reaching 6,000 cards a month in December and averaging about 5,000 a month. Individual and business travellers from the United States and Europe made up the bulk of the buyers. The Tourism Board, formerly known as the Tourist Association, predicts more than 14.075 million foreigners will visit the SAR this year. Glossary success (n) the achievement of something source (n) the origin or starting point burden (n) something that is carried, a load; something that is difficult to bear vending machine (n) a machine that automatically dispenses food, drink or tickets when money is inserted convenient (adj) suitable or timely satisfactory (adj) adequate or acceptable Discussion points Do you think the three-day tourist Octopus card is a good idea for tourists? Should the cards be for longer periods?