Hong Kong tourism heading for a decline

Published on : Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Hong-Kong-300x187The executive director of the Travel Industry Council since 1997 has pointed out that the recent drop in mainland visitors to Hong Kong can be attributed to the tension between Hong Kongers and the mainlanders.


Hong Kong badly lost out on its mainland tourists this year as the numbers dwindled in the first five days of the Lunar New Year. This happened for the first time in 20years, even though it was a holiday.


The decline was by 0.16 percent from last year where 675,155 mainlanders entered Hong Kong during the five days.


Looking at the numbers of 2014, 676,297 mainlanders visited Hong Kong in the same period last year representing a 13.7 per cent jump from 594,302 in 2013. This year for the first time Hong Kong has seen a drop in New Year period.


The residents have always shown resentment against visitors from the mainland accusing them of snapping up daily essentials like baby milk formula. A growing scarcity in the market of these daily needs has increased the prices making it difficult for locals to procure the same.


Continuous protests like the one that took place last month at the New Town Plaza in Sha Tin, was a direct protest against the mainlanders asking them to go back. More protests are scheduled to be held in the coming weeks.


Tour groups have started decreasing in numbers. This year 400 groups visited Hong Kong compared to the 500 last year. Situations will get worst feel travel experts.


The CLSA predicts that the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong will only grow by 4 per cent which had soared to 16 percent last year. The city shops have already started having deserted looks with short queues which is not a regular sight in Hong Kong.


The local deputy Ip Kwok said “The influx of mainland tourists has brought immense pressure on the boundary checkpoints and community facilities. The tourists end up unable to enjoy quality service here.” The national Congress is all geared up to set a proposal to curb the multi-entry schemes for Shenzhen residents in its annual session.


Tourist sector lawmakers have pleaded that mainlanders from more cities should be allowed to make individual visits to Hong Kong. At present only 49 residents can come to Hong Kong from mainland cities.


The world at large, even the U.S. has made flexible visa facilities for mainlanders. A 10-year tourists and business visa deal has been signed between China and the U.S. for the benefit of the citizens of both the countries.


The Population Policy Concern Group convener Roy Tam Hoi-pong however feels that the crackdown on corruption is the real reason why fewer mainlanders are coming to spend money in Hong Kong.


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