Mainland groups dine at sea to ease restaurant woes

Mainland groups dine at sea to ease restaurant woes

Mainland tour groups got the chance to dine onboard a harbour cruise ship on Wednesday, in what its operator said is a move to ease pressure on the catering sector amid a surge in group tours.

The return of visitors from across the border has led to complaints of overcrowding and nuisance in parts of Kowloon City, where many groups stop off for their meals.

Tourism authorities and the industry have put measues in place to ease the pressure. But the operation director of Harbour Cruise Bauhinia, Rockie Ip, said he hoped his company could help by offering meals on its vessel at Kwun Tong – while providing something a bit different for the visitors.

“We’re doing this in Kwun Tong to ease the situation in Kowloon City. We hope to promote local tourism and build a positive image of Hong Kong. We hope to divert tourists away from Kowloon City. There’s a pier in Kwun Tong for the buses to stop over, to avoid causing nuisance to the area,” he said.

Tourists who dined onboard and toured around Victoria Harbour were generally happy with the arrangement. One woman said she prefered eating on a ship than at a restaurant.

“The arrangement is quite good. I feel very excited to come to Hong Kong this time. I’ve tried every single dish and they taste really good,” she said.

Another tourist said: “This is the most unforgettable day of my life. It feels the best to be on board. Look at the blue sky and sea.”

Annie Fonda, the executive director of the Travel Industry Authority, also said the arrangement has been smooth.

“We examined the traffic, crowd control and boarding arrangement, which have been smooth and satisfactory. There’s no problem with parking as well. It’s a good idea to provide tourists with one more dining option. It provides a brand new experience for the tourists, and avoids crowd gathering,” she told RTHK.

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