This undated photo shows an aerial view of Hengqin Free Trade Zone in Zhuhai, Guangdong province. [Photo provided to China Daily]
More than 500 tour guides and leaders from Hong Kong and Macao have applied for special certificates for practicing in the Hengqin New Area in Zhuhai, next door to Macao, since the new policy was announced by the Guangdong government last week.
The first batch of tourism professionals are expected to explore the new market as soon as the upcoming weeklong National Day holiday that begins on Oct 1.
The applicants need to go through a three-day training on local regulations and Hengqin's major tourist sites, the provincial Human Resources and Social Security Department said during the announcement of the scheme.
Those who will receive the new certificates will also be granted a reward of 3,000 yuan ($470). No extra charges are required either for applying for the certificate or the training.
After successful practice for 30 and 45 days in Hengqin, tourism practitioners will receive another incentive of 20,000 yuan and 30,000 yuan respectively.
Li Weihui, deputy Party secretary of the Hengqin New Area, said it is an attempt to facilitate recognition of professional qualifications in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and an encouragement for Hong Kong and Macao tourism agencies to come up with more multi-destinations products.
The 11-city cluster includes nine cities of Guangdong province and Hong Kong and Macao. The central government released a blueprint of its integrated development in February. It also bolsters Macao's development into a world tourism and leisure center.
In April, the State Council approved the plan for the construction of the Hengqin International Recreation Island, the nation's third of its kind. The 106.46-square-kilometer region has many well-known tourist sites, such as Chime-Long Ocean Kingdom, the largest marine theme park in the world.
The island received above 10 million tourists in 2018 while more than 38.8 million people visited Macao.