March 19, 2019

China’s Pearl River Delta growing together: Greater Bay Area with first-ever joint ITB presence

China’s emerging metropolitan region around the Pearl River Delta continues to merge: the two special administrative regions Hong Kong and Macao together with nine municipalities of Chinas most populated Province Guangdong jointly form the “Greater Bay Area”.

The consolidation of the three regions to one large economic hub is part of the infrastructure milestones the Chinese government is pursuing in conjunction with the Road and Belt initiative. As this cooperation also encompasses the tourism sector, the three partners are looking forward to their first-ever joint presence at ITB Berlin from March 6 to 10 (Hall 26A, Stand 119).

Cities united by infrastructural mega projects

A core of the new infrastructure improvements in the Greater Bay Area is the 55 kilometres long bridge, connecting Hong Kong, Macao and Zhuhai. The world’s longest sea bridge reduces the travelling time from Hong Kong airport on Lantau Island to Zhuhai to 45 minutes from four hours previously needed. The new route includes one tunnel and several bridging elements. It is about 20 times the length of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

Hong Kong “Greater Bay Area”. at night.

Another milestone is the completion of the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, connecting the Hong Kong train network to the one in Mainland China. Travel time from the newly built Hong Kong Kowloon West station to Guangzhou North was halved to 48 minutes.

Together with the new Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point, connecting Hong Kong and Shenzhen, the new sea bridge and the Express Rail Link form an “one-hour living circle” between Guangdong Province, Hong Kong and Macao, laying a solid foundation for the development of the Greater Bay Area. The new border control point, including new highways and overpasses, is set to open in 2019.

Chinas economic driver to flourish

Role model for the new economic hub Greater Bay Area are other delta regions like San Francisco with its neighbouring communities Oakland and San José/Silicon Valley or Tokyo Bay and Greater New York. To surpass its global competitors, Guangdong’s Greater Bay cities (i.e., Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing), Hong Kong and Macao are to intertwine their individual strengths much closer than ever before. The Greater Bay Area already offers the largest worldwide network of airports and seaports. Almost 70 Million inhabitants live in the Pearl River Delta – about five percent of the Chinese population. At present about twelve percent of the annual GDP of the People’s Republic of China is generated here on 0.6 percent of Chinas land mass. The plan foresees an even bigger increase.

New chances for tourism

The tourism sector is set to greatly benefit from this regional merger. Anthony Lau, Executive Director, Hong Kong Tourism Board explains on behalf of “Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Tourism Marketing Organization”: “We are at the beginning of a golden age of opportunity that will make the Greater Bay Area a destination of choice for tourists from every corner of the world. By working together, we can steer the region’s tourism industry towards exciting new horizons.”

A major focus for international markets lies in the development of multi-destination travel packages. For this, the respective unique selling points and existing resources are to be matched, harmonized and jointly promoted. A “144 hours Convenient Visa” is already enabling tourists an easy border crossing from Hong Kong or Macao to Guangdong. The cruise industry is also looking with great interest into developments in the Pearl River Delta, as the region offers multiple appealing ports of calls within a short distance. At ITB, the world’s largest tourism and travel fair happening in Berlin from March 6 to 10, the three partners will present themselves as one travel destination. In addition to various advertising during the fair a Greater Bay Area Showcase event is planned for trade partner and media on Wednesday afternoon.

The “Greater Bay Area”.

Overview on the regions of the Greater Area Bay

Guangdong Province is both the southern gateway of China and beautiful starting point of Maritime Silk Road. Located on the South China Sea coast, and adjacent to Hong Kong and Macao, Guangdong Province is one of the most culturally and economically vibrant regions in China. It spans from bustling international metropolises to simple and unsophisticated villages; from amazing natural sceneries to millennium-old cultural heritages; from modern and stylish theme parks to, relaxing hot springs and resorts; and from romantic beaches to fascinating customs of ethnic minorities. Nowadays, Guangdong has become one of the most prominent tourist source markets, travel destinations and tourism industry clusters in China and even Asia Pacific region.

Recently named the world’s most visited city, Hong Kong presents itself as a cosmopolitan mega-city full of contrasts, including an impressive skyline bordering world famous Victoria Harbour. Eastern traditions meet western lifestyle, unforgettable culinary experiences ranging from fine-dining to finger food, as well as intoxicating art and sport events enrich the Living Culture of the seven million metropolis. A city where contrasts, variety, trendiness and excitement live side by side. More than 200 mostly uninhabited islands make up a tranquil green backyard to Hong Kong’s skyscrapers and enable exciting outdoor experiences such as hiking, mountain biking or rafting just a few minutes from the bustling downtown skyscrapers.

Macao has undergone a remarkable transformation in the tourism arena and celebrating its’ 20th anniversary as a Special Administrative Region this year. “The Historic Centre of Macao”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a well preserved living testament to the glorious past as a trading post and cultural exchange platform between Asia and Europe. Centuries of dynamic interaction between the east and the west inherently created a distinctive culture and architectural heritage. One of the world’s earliest forms of fusion cuisine was created here, refined over centuries of blending Chinese and Portuguese ingredients together with exotic spices that came from the trading past, is perhaps the perfect way to sample the rich flavours of the distinctive cultural heritage of this UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. An abundance of tourism resources, from fully integrated mega resorts, fine dining and unique shopping experience to the world’s longest sea-crossing bridge, seamlessly connects Macao with the cities in the Greater Bay Area.

For further information:
Discover Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Bay Area: http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/beyond-hk/bay-area/index.jsp
http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/about-hktb/structure-and-management/executive-director.jsp

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