After years of planning, loads of heated discussions, hours of research and market analysis, and almost 10 years of actual construction, the 55km bridge connecting Hong Kong to mainland China and Macau has officially opened as of October 24, 2018.
Recently, I visited Hong Kong and Macau along with 200 other travel professionals to get a glimpse of the bridge and discuss the implications that the $17.5 billion USD link would have on our industry.
Confession: I didn’t travel on the bridge.
It’s not that I have a deep-seated fear of long structures—quite the opposite, actually. I would have loved to be one of the first to cross the Pearl River Estuary by iron and steel. After all, the new HZMB (Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge) project holds the current title of the world’s longest sea-spanning bridge. Ultimately, however, the powers that be decided there were just too many of us to logistically make the crossing in a timely fashion, so I’ll have to leave that passage for the next time. I was able to see the bridge from a bird’s eye view from inside the NgongPing 360 Cable Car journey on Lantau Island.
Before its opening, the only feasible way to visit Macau from Hong Kong would have been by hydrofoil, which would take just under an hour from pier to pier. The cost of a hydrofoil trip is approximately between 40 to 50 USD depending on whether you travel economy or superclass. With docks on both Kowloon and Hong Kong Island, and with over 38 crossings per day, it was a pretty darn effective way to get from city to city.
The bridge, on the other hand, takes, well, as long as it takes to traverse 55km by highway, as well as clear customs on both sides. At the time of publishing this article, the toll was expected to run about $20 USD per taxi, and of course, that’s just the toll, not the actual taxi fare including pick up from your hotel. Larger vehicles would be more, of course, but all costs are factored into the price of your tour anyway.
When it’s put it that way, I have to be honest: as an industry insider, I’m not sure the bridge will have a massive impact on the tourism industry. While I think there is a coolness factor to taking a record-breaking bridge to visit Macau, one has to wonder how long it will be before Dubai doesn’t come up with something just to nab that distinction for itself. And you can’t argue with the ease of jumping onto the hydrofoil, which is walking distance from many Hong Kong hotels, popping in your earbuds and dreaming of all the money you’ll win in the Macau casinos.
Goway will be offering both options to get to Macau in the coming months. For now, clients can choose a day tour to Macau as either an add-on to the 3 or 4-Day Vibrant Hong Kong tour or as part of the Hong Kong & Exotic Macau. And if your clients are feeling lucky, they should book a few nights in one of the swanky 5-star sprawling gambling resorts. There’s a lot to love about Macau no matter how you get there.