Top News Hong Kong, Macau players anticipate flood of Chinese arrivals for upcoming Labour Day holiday By Prudence Lui / Posted on 28 April, 2023 18:47 Hong Kong and Macau will welcome an influx of mainland Chinese travellers this May Day holidays from April 29 to May 4 – the first massive wave since all travel restrictions on the Chinese were lifted in February this year. According to Hong Kong’s Immigration Department, some 4.61 million travellers are expected to pass through Hong Kong’s sea, land and air control points during this period. Hong Kong (pictured) and Macau will see a surge in mainland Chinese arrivals over the upcoming May Day holidays Tourism players in the destination told TTG Asia that they been preparing for this travel surge. Luc Bollen, general manager of The Park Lane Hong Kong, a Pullman Hotel, said his team has implemented contactless technology to improve overall efficiency and guest experience. This includes check-in robots in the lobby, and an online booking system that allows guests to book their stays and make F&B reservations. Bollen said his property has been able to avoid the current widespread labour shortage by retaining all staff during the challenging years and implementing various employee-focused initiatives such as employee wellness programme, on-the-job training, education sponsorships and collaboration with several hotel management universities in Hong Kong to provide scholarships, internships and career talks aimed at talents aspiring to join the hotel industry. Kam Wai Travel, director, Frankie Lam, has also been able to rebuild his manpower to 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Hotel Alexandra’s general manager, Christina Cheng, said her team is able to “cope with the business pick-up”, and that every staff member will have to “work harder” while recruitment continues. “We are also training colleagues to multi-task and help out departments that are very busy. We continue to conduct cross-department trainings and offer flexible duty hours,” Cheng said. When asked if the May Day travel rebound and busy days will translate to healthy profits, Kam Wai Travel’s Lam said: “Profit margin is narrow given intense competition from the OTAs. Therefore, I do not think we can turn business from loss to profit this year. It would take us two to three years to make up for the loss incurred during the three pandemic years.” Lam also noted that the travel surge is driven by FITs, a segment that is outperforming group tours. Furthermore, groups are now made up mostly of small-sized families. Over in Macau, the May Day holidays are expected to catalyse travel recovery. According to Kris Kaminsky, senior vice president of hotel operations at Sands China, the destination is already “on the track of accelerated recovery underpinned by various favourable measures and tourism promotion campaigns”. “More encouragingly, the Macau government has recently announced that it will no longer restrict the number of land border crossings between Macau and Zhuhai (on the mainland) to a single round-trip per day starting May 1, 2023,” he added. CTS (Macao), travel department sales and marketing manager, Pun Cheng Man, observed that demand is strong from both FITs and group tours. Previously, group tours would dominate. She explained that as the FIT segment is driving up hotel rates, group tours are finding it more expensive to visit Macau during the May Day holidays. While Pun welcomes busy days, she said that earnings are only 70 per cent of pre-pandemic levels due to escalating costs of tourism products and operations. Editor’s note: The Park Lane Hong Kong, a Pullman Hotel was incorrectly labelled as The Park Land in the original post. This has been corrected.