At her weekly press briefing, Lam said a maximum of 2,000 non-Hong Kong residents from the two places will be allowed to enter the territory each day now that the pandemic situation is stable.
“A 1,000-person quota will be available daily at [both] the Shenzhen Bay Port and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Port,” she said.
“We have been talking about this [Come2hk scheme] for a long time but were never able to launch it, as there were often problems, either because of the rebound in cases in Hong Kong, or the mainland’s pandemic situation.”
Meanwhile, Lam said that from September 8, the Return2hk scheme will cover Macau and the whole of the mainland – apart from any “at-risk areas” – to let SAR residents come back quarantine-free.
Since August 5, the scheme has been limited to people returning from Guangdong province.
“Since the Return2hk scheme was implemented in November, more than 200,000 Hong Kong people have come back, and there wasn’t one single confirmed infection, so we can be reassured,” the CE said.
Lam said those coming back under the Return2hk and Come2hk schemes will have to present a negative Covid-19 test result at border control and be tested regularly after their arrival.
Freddy Yip, the president of the Travel Agent Owners Association, said he expects most inbound travellers under the Come2hk scheme will be businesspeople or those visiting their relatives in the SAR.
“I don’t think the tourist groups from mainland China… will come to Hong Kong at this moment. At this moment [it’s] only the individuals… so they don’t need any service from our travel agencies,” he said.
The Travel Industry Council’s chairman, Jason Wong, echoed Yip’s view that it will take time for tourists to come back.
“It’s not going to bounce back to pre-Covid level traffic,” Wong said, adding that he hopes the 2,000-a-day quota can be doubled by the end of the year to revive tourism.