Individual Visit SchemeThe Individual Visit Scheme
The Individual Visit Scheme was first i ntroduced in four Guangdong cities (D ongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen, Fosh an) on 28 July 2003 as a liberalization measure under the Closer Economic P artnership Arrangement. Prior to the S cheme, Mainland residents could only visit to Hong Kong and Macau on busi ness visas or in group tours.
Individual Visit Scheme
49 cities with permanent hous ehold registration are eligible to appl y for the relevant exit endorsement
for three months or one year an d good for one or two visits to Hong K ong. Stay
in Hong Kong for not more than seven days on each visit.
The outbreak of SARS in Hong Kong from
March to June 2003 resulted in a sharp dro p in the number of both Mainland and ove rseas visitors, to a low level that was unpr ecedented in recent years. The tourism in dustry was adversely affected.
The main reason for launching the Individ ual Visit Scheme was to boost the economy of Hong Kong and Macau.
The scheme brought an immediate surge in the number of Mainland visitors. In the short period from July 28 to November 4,
2003, more than 600,000 individuals in th e Mainland applied for visas, and 450,000 visas were issued. The number of visitors under the scheme reached two million in
As the scheme is attracting a large numb er of Mainlanders to Hong Kong, it create d a 'positive by-product' to attract overse as travelers to visit Hong Kong