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Hong Kong Lifts Travel Ban

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Visitor arrivals from Hong Kong are expected to increase following the resolution of a long-running dispute over a hostage crisis in 2010.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said tourist arrivals from Hong Kong have been on the rise even before the black travel alert was lifted.  He noted that Hong Kong is among the country’s top 10 tourist source markets.

“Even before the amber alert, and before the upgrade, it was already growing slightly but of course we didn't want to flaunt it. It will now grow a lot faster,” he said.

The Hong Kong government announced that it has adjusted the travel alert to “amber,” which means that “Hong Kong residents who intend to visit the country or are already there should monitor the situation, exercise caution and attend to personal safety.”

Secretary Jimenez also said that travel to and from China is “unimpeded” despite the territorial dispute between China and the Philippines.  “The good news about China is—and I'm almost afraid to jinx it—we are growing by about 67 percent in 2013. They are up from a little over 200,000 to over 450,000 in 2013, in spite of everything…There is a certain momentum in travel that is above all the tension, there is a kind of a tacit agreement around the world that tourism is not part of any political [issue],” he said.