Shenzhen shopping tours boom for HK travel agencies

Shenzhen’s member-only warehouse stores for bulk purchases have recently been drawing crowds of people from Hong Kong, prompting travel agents to introduce hassle-free border-crossing shopping tour packages.

In December 2023, EGL Tours pioneered a two-day Shenzhen tour, combining shopping with sightseeing around Dongguan. The itinerary included an overnight hotel stay, three meals, and a one-year membership card per two guests worth HK$285 (US$36), all for HK$429.

EGL Tours introduced a two-day Shenzhen tour, combining shopping with sightseeing around Dongguan (Photo: EGL Tours)

Strong demand, fuelled by the recent opening of the first Costco in Shenzhen, has led to sold-out January departures. To meet this high demand, EGL Tours has expanded its offerings to include another itinerary to Huizhou, an hour from Shenzhen.

Steve Huen, executive director, EGL Tours, commented: “Our bookings have so far exceeded 5,000 pax, which may generate about HK$2.5 million. Still, this is just a very tiny ratio (compared) to our overall business monthly turnover of HK$100 million.”

Huen added that although its existing patrons are mostly aged 50 or above, those most attracted to this shopping spree trend are in the 30 to 40 age group, a segment that EGL Tours is keeping its eye on.

Meanwhile, Big Line Holiday, which has been operating group tours to China, have also taken notice of the increasing traffic from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, especially in the lead up to the Chinese New Year (CNY) The travel agency currently offer three two-day itineraries that offer less sightseeing and more time for shopping.

Big Line Holiday’s director of sales, Marco Chan, said: “Response has been overwhelming recently, with 10,000 bookings already made to depart before CNY. We average 10 tours per day (30 pax per tour) and (focus on) brand-new content with authentic meals to woo clientele.”

Eat Play Travel has also hopped on the shopping spree bandwagon, and has three to four groups (40 pax per group) departing on a weekly basis.

Thomas Chan, general manager, Eat Play Travel, remarked that this has helped to keep the company afloat, as outbound travel “fell short over last Christmas”.

“China has been the only market delivering numbers and business. In fact, our China business rebounded almost 90 per cent,” Chan shared.

OTAs like KKday are also seizing this opportunity and is now offering same-day coach bus transfers, and private car charters for two-day group tours.

Pinky Lee, general manager, KKday, shared: “We kicked off the offers last week, and received several thousand calls for tour details – with more than 200 orders placed. Apart from shopping, we all also explore more different experiences in Shenzhen, such as massage and indoor skiing activities, to spice up the city’s offers.

“Kudos to agents in Hong Kong (for making) such a creative travel product happen.”

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