Travel Industry Council wants gov't to drop PCR test mandate for mainland tourists

Travel Industry Council's chairwoman Gianna Hsu Wong Mei-lun wants the government to drop the PCR test requirement for mainland tourists coming down south, as she said authorities' latest move of scrapping the quarantine order for Covid-positive patients is of little help.

The removal of the quarantine order, which will take place starting January 30, was announced by Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Thursday morning.

Yet, Hsu today said the move is not attractive enough to lure mainland tourists into coming to the SAR and it won't help much in reviving the city's tourism sector.

Hsu then called on the government to cancel the PCR test requirement imposed on mainland tourists.

The council's executive director Fanny Yeung Shuk-fan also pointed out that currently, the number of inbound visitor arrivals is less than 10 percent of pre-pandemic levels, and the number of outbound visitors is only about 30 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

Yeung hoped authorities could lower the threshold to a rapid antigen test instead or drop the test requirement altogether.

She also wanted the government to provide allowances to support the industry so that travel agencies could cooperate with overseas partners to promote more tours to the public.

Hsu also echoed Yeung's call to beef up financial support as she noted that the 18,000-strong coach bus sector has lost over half of the workforce three years into the Covid pandemic. The money can then be used to recruit talents and for maintenance work.