Beijing, Jan 18 (EFE).- The Silver Spirit arrived Wednesday at Hong Kong’s Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui, becoming the first international cruise ship to arrive in the former British colony since early 2020, when the city imposed a ban on such vessels due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ship, which departed from Singapore and made stops in Vietnam and Thailand, arrived in Hong Kong with 300 passengers from over 20 countries on board, public broadcaster RTHK reported Wednesday.
“It’s a very important milestone for us along the road to recovery,” Culture Secretary Kevin Yeung said, adding that the city will make efforts to become a starting point for cruises.
Silversea cruise line’s managing director, Adam Radwanski, said Hong Kong “has one of the most beautiful harbors in the world.”
“Cruising in Asia without stopping or calling in Hong Kong is not complete or fully satisfactory, so Hong Kong is an extremely critical point and port in this part of the region,” he added.
The Silver Spirit will embark on its return journey to Singapore on Thursday.
Hong Kong’s Tourism Board said that 16 cruise ships were expected to make 82 stops in the semi-autonomous city’s port in 2023.
“Hong Kong is a very attractive cruise ship destination. The sense of arrival when you come into Victoria Harbor is really second to none in Asia,” the board’s chairman, Pang Yiu-kai, said.
In mid-December, Hong Kong announced the withdrawal of the mandatory three-day quarantine for overseas visitors.
It had scrapped hotel quarantines for travelers in September.
Since the start of the pandemic, Hong Kong has imposed strict border controls under a zero-tolerance policy toward Covid-19 similar to the one in place in mainland China until only a few weeks ago. EFE