Industry chief appeals for action on cross-border immigration procedures Hong Kong and the mainland must streamline cross-border immigration procedures and better align their tourism industries and infrastructure as part of China's 11th five-year plan, a tourism company chief said yesterday. Decongesting Hong Kong's skies, improving rail integration and expanding the hotel and cruise sectors should also top the agenda for cross-border integration under the mainland's economic blueprint, Jackie Wong See-sum said. Mr Wong is convenor of the focus group on professional services, innovation and technology and tourism formed following last year's economic summit on the five-year plan. Three other focus groups are charged with mapping out the strategies for developing trade and business, financial services, and maritime, logistics and infrastructure. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen will announce details of the plan on Monday. Mr Wong, who is also managing director of Hong Thai Travel Services, said integrating cross-border immigration procedures at one point rather than two was key to enhancing tourism flows. 'This is very important. We've been talking about this for many years,' he said. 'A lot of people cross the border to play golf, for instance, and it's very inconvenient to have to go through immigration twice.' Procedures between Hong Kong and Macau should also be aligned, he said. Mainland visitors need to obtain permits to visit Hong Kong but only need to fill in relevant entry and departure forms for Macau. Hong Kong's rail companies also need to upgrade with high-speed services to the border in order to bring their operations into line with those of Guangdong, which is rolling out a high-speed network. Likewise, Mr Wong said he hoped Hong Kong and Beijing could do more to clear air traffic at Chek Lap Kok. As planes often have to circle above the airport for 30 minutes before landing due to congestion, easing this situation could help boost flight frequencies and tourism flows, he said. To better accommodate mainland tourists visiting Hong Kong, more one- and two-star hotels should be built, he said. Mr Wong pointed out that some mainland tour groups and visitors stay for one night only, check in very late and do not mind sleeping in cheaper accommodation, even if it means bunk beds or crowded rooms. However, Hong Kong Hotels Association executive director James Lu Shien-kwai said Hong Kong needed to proceed with caution to achieve a suitable balance between lower-end hotels and five-star establishments. 'There is always a need for one- and two-star hotels,' Mr Lu said. 'But if we build more lower-end hotels, are we looking to attract more of these visitors to come to Hong Kong? There has to be a certain balance.' Hong Kong's guesthouses offer roughly 10,000 rooms, half of which are taken up by mainland visitors. Mr Lu said he believed there was room to build more guesthouses.