Hong Kong set new records on the number of passengers using the Express Rail Link or crossing the mega bridge on the last day of the Lunar New Year holidays, government figures show.
According to the Immigration Department, passenger traffic at West Kowloon terminus of the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) totaled 104,155 on Thursday, the third day of the Lunar New Year, while those passing through the Hong Kong port of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) reached 159,785, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Statistics from the department also showed the combined number of passengers entering and leaving Hong Kong via various control points surpassed 1.19 million on Thursday, up 26 percent from that seen on the third day of the Lunar New Year in 2018.
The number of mainland visitors alone totaled 694,000 in the first two days of the holidays, representing a 43 percent increase from the same period last year.
The total number of passengers entering and leaving Hong Kong in the past three Lunar New Year holidays exceeded 3.03 million, up more than 22 percent year on year.
As visitors flooded Hong Kong, the local retail industry posted better than expected sales during the holidays.
Lau Hak-bun, general manager for retail operations (Greater China) of jewelry retailer Chow Sang Sang, told the HKEJ that its sales rose by 10 percent in the past three days, compared to a single digit increase it had originally estimated, as the number of customers was up more than 15 percent from a year ago.
Lau, who also chairs The Kowloon Pearls, Precious Stones, Jade, Gold and Silver Ornament Merchants Association, said both the XRL and the HZMB helped bring more mainland visitors, who tended to set aside worries about the Sino-US trade War and the depreciation of the yuan and were wiling to spend.
Also on Thursday, Ocean Park Hong Kong suspended ticket sales at the main gate and implemented crowd control measures as admissions approached the upper limit.
A spokesperson for the theme park said it can only host up to 36,300 visitors as regulated by the Fire Services Department.
As such, it has to suspend ticket sales once the number of visitors reaches 32,000 since it needs to reserve room for people using birthday concessions or group tickets.
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