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Hong Kong, Shenzhen offer new opportunities

Hong Kong and Shenzhen are teaming up to offer Canadian travellers a host of new travel options designed to allow them to discover the wonders of both destinations. A select group of agents and operators were on hand in Toronto last week as top officials from the Hong Kong Tourist Board and the Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Culture, Sports and Tourism unveiled details of new tours and excursions now available into Shenzhen, China from Hong Kong; new visa rules that are designed to ease access to Shenzhen; and new plans, including a high-speed rail link, that will shorten the travel time between Hong Kong and Shenzhen. Anthony Lau, executive director of the HKTB, told his Toronto audience: “We believe Hong Kong is the perfect gateway to explore mainland China and the ideal base to make an excursion to Shenzhen. First, we enjoy close proximity and are conviently connected — whether by land or by sea. Second, we offer easy access. From Hong Kong, visitors can make a side trip to Shenzhen without having to apply for visa entry in advance. All they need to do is book a tour, which includes a “144-hour Convenient Group Visa.” This visa allows visitors to travel to Guangdong province through various entry points, including Shenzhen for a maximum of 144 hours or six days. Gangming Ke, inspector for the Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Culture, Sports & Tourism, applauded Lau’s comments, before adding that visitors won’t be disappointed with Shenzhen as it offers a wide variety of attractions and activities that include theme parks, coastal romance, culture, golf and more. Shenzhen, Ke Gang Ming told his travel trade audience, has “consolidated its leading place in both the inbound and outbound [travel] market in China. In 2010, Shenzhen was listed as one of the 31 ‘must-visit’ cities in the world by the New York Times.” Lau also pointed out that close to 90% of the 400,000 Canadians who visited Hong Kong in 2011travelled on multi-destination itineraries, with 33,000 of them combining Hong Kong and Shenzhen in their trips. The HKTB’s executive director pointed out that Hong Kong and Shenzhen “offer a range of distinctive yet complementary experiences — from the cosmopolitan lifestyle of Hong Kong to the cultural excursion in Shenzhen.” And he added that together the two destinations “can be packaged into attractive multi-destination itineraries which will not only give Canadian travellers multiple fun and excitement, but also generate multiple business opportunities for our trade partners.”

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