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High-speed trains to boost HK-mainland travel

By WU KUNLING and STEPHY ZHANG in Hong Kong | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2024-06-15 07:34
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A view of the Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong. [Photo/IC]

The launch of high-speed sleeper train services connecting Hong Kong with Beijing and Shanghai has received a warm welcome in Hong Kong, with all sleeper berths on northbound trains fully booked and a notable surge in sales of related travel products.

Tourism insiders hailed the new service as a further enhancement of the high-speed rail network, and they expressed the hope that the new service will be extended to more mainland cities.

Starting Saturday, the overnight high-speed sleepers — each of which can carry more than 600 passengers — will run from Friday to Monday between Hong Kong and the two mainland cities. The sale of tickets started on June 5. Sleeper tickets for trains heading north on Saturday and Sunday were all quickly sold out.

Many tourism agencies also launched travel packages for enthusiastic passengers to take a ride. Some of the packages, priced at over HK $3,399 ($435), were fully booked for weekend departures.

Chan Yin-ping, chairwoman of local travel agency Big Line Holiday, said it launched high-speed sleeper train travel packages on June 6, the day after tickets for the new service went on sale. The packages were booked up almost immediately.

Perry Yiu Pak-leung, a Hong Kong lawmaker representing the tourism sector, said that the trend of Hong Kong residents traveling to the Chinese mainland remains strong, and the new service provides a good means of transportation to mainland cities.

As the sleeper trains can offer a more comfortable travel experience for passengers, he believes the new service will attract more seniors and families.

Hong Kong lawmaker Gary Zhang Xinyu, chairman of the Legislative Council's Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways, said that the new overnight high-speed train service offers an excellent option for both leisure and business travelers. It saves passengers a night's hotel costs and creates greater scheduling flexibility for their travel and business activities. It may also bring tourists and investors from the mainland to Hong Kong.

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