Hongkongers just love Christmas.
As many people go on overseas holiday, the traffic seems to be smoother on the city’s roads and one can also walk in easily to all the favorite eateries.
Of course you still have to stay away from shopping hubs such as Causeway Bay and Tsim Sha Tsui where you will find more tourists with luggage than locals.
More mainlanders will come to Hong Kong for Christmas now that authorities in many Chinese cities are discouraging the celebration of the “Western” festival and urging people to focus instead on Chinese culture and traditions.
So, just how many people were coming in and out of Hong Kong this past Christmas?
I do not have the whole picture but I suspect more than two million locals left this city over Christmas.
More than 1.08 million people went through Hong Kong immigration on Boxing Day, up 3.6 percent compared to the level on Christmas Day, according to data from the Immigration Department.
Many people came back for work, but there are still tens of thousands – such as our dear Chief Executive Carrie Lam – who are still on holiday.
On Boxing Day, about 28 percent of the people flow in and out of Hong Kong was at Lo Wu, Shenzhen, and 16 percent at the Hong Kong International Airport.
Almost 10 percent passed through the new Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, and up to 6.8 percent from the West Kowloon Terminus.
A record 94,625 passengers, of which 59 percent were inbound tourists, were recorded from high-speed rail on December 23 as people took advantage of the long Christmas holiday to travel.
Ditto for Macau. More than 600,000 tourists went to Macau in the period from December 22 and 26, with over 40 percent taking the sea-crossing bridge.
We cannot say what lies ahead of us in 2019, but there is at least one thing that appears certain: greater flow of mainland tourists into Hong Kong.
That said, we can still expect to enjoy a peaceful Christmas, like we did this year. Amen.
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