Home' A Plus Magazine : Dec 2012 Contents 36 December 2012
One issue of concern is whether Hong Kong
relies too much on Mainland visitors, espe-
cially as weak economic sentiment means
fewer visits from Europeans and North
Americans. Luxury goods retailers in partic-
ular bend over backwards to accommodate
Mainlanders, providing yuan payment op-
tions, simplified Chinese signs and stocking
goods either much more expensive or diffi-
cult to find in China.
"The super luxury business model is tied
into the Mainland visitor," observes Alan
MacCharles, a partner and head of commer-
cial due diligence at Deloitte in Shanghai,
who consults on the leisure and travel indus-
tries. "Is there a dependency? Absolutely."
MacCharles says Hong Kong should be wor-
ried about committing resources -- both public
and private -- to an industry that depends so
much on the Beijing government's visa policy.
"It's a concern point," he says. "It's driven by
government policy not by demand."
Many from tourist-dependent busi-
nesses also urge caution. "Tourism is highly
volatile," says Clement Tsang, regional fi-
nance director for a Hong Kong-based unit
of French luxury goods empire LVMH Moët
Hennessy Louis Vuitton.
"If the Mainland government were sud-
denly to change policy and reduce the import
taxes or change the value-added taxes [in the
Mainland], there would be a major impact,"
says Tsang, an Institute member.
MacCharles cites how the central gov-
ernment and the Guangdong provincial au-
thorities have at times tightened the right
to travel to Macau, most recently in June. In
2008, visa restrictions imposed due to con-
cerns over a rapid increase in Macau gam-
bling saw casinos revenue growth dropped
to 10 percent that year, from 28 percent the
While Hong Kong doesn't have casinos --
and no legal gambling except horse racing --
there is concern that arbitrary restrictions
could affect Hong Kong as an intermediate
destination for Mainland visitors going to
Macau. "A big percentage [of Mainland visi-
tors to Hong Kong] move on to Macau," Mac-
Hong Kong tourism authorities acknowl-
edge the dangers of dependence on the
Mainland. "Notwithstanding the impor-
tance of the Mainland to Hong Kong's tour-
ism growth, it is a cornerstone strategy to
"If the Mainland government were
suddenly to change policy and reduce
the import taxes or change the value-
added taxes [in the Mainland], there
would be a major impact."
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