Home' A Plus Magazine : Dec 2012 Contents Tourism
38 December 2012
Airlines). The move comes in the face of
growing rivalry from budget carriers -- Aus-
tralian-owned Jetstar is set, subject to regu-
latory approval, to launch in Hong Kong next
year in a joint venture with China Eastern
Hong Kong Airlines also hopes to add new
aircraft to its fleet in the next two years in a
bid to broaden its range of destinations. It be-
gan flying from Hong Kong to Hohhot, Inner
Mongolia, in September.
Hong Kong's accommodation sector is also
gearing for a continued increase in the num-
ber of tourists. According to a forecast by
Business Monitor International, a London-
based consultancy, about 8,000 new rooms
will be added to Hong Kong's hotel capacity
between now and 2016, increasing the total
by about 11.5 percent to 77,000 rooms.
A challenge for industry professionals is
keeping tourists in Hong Kong, rather than
have them move on to Macau or other desti-
nations. "As Hong Kong is developing itself
to be a hub for multi-destination travel, more
efforts need to be made to impress visitors,"
says Matthias Li, deputy chief executive of
Ocean Park and an Institute member.
"A portion of Mainland tourists have al-
ready made several visits to Hong Kong, and
would now look beyond the typical attrac-
tions and seek more novel experiences that
would depict local culture and heritage,"
Li adds, citing examples such as the Tai O
fishing village on Lantau, the annual bun
festival on Cheung Chau and Hong Kong
Global Geopark in the northeastern New
"I don't see any signs showing that Hong
Kong is over-reliant on the China market,"
he says. "The 70 percent, in my opinion,
simply demonstrates the huge population in
a single market who are interested in Hong
Kong, which is something that we should be
To be sure, other countries are register-
ing increased interest in Hong Kong. More
tourists from Korea and the Middle East
are arriving, while the other "BRIC" coun-
tries -- Brazil, Russia and India -- are among
source markets with enormous room for
growth, according to the Hong Kong Tour-
ism Board. "I'm confident that Hong Kong is
already working hard to entice these visitors
to choose Hong Kong as their next destina-
tion," says Li.
The sharp increase in Mainland tourists has come at a social
price, in the eyes of many Hong Kong residents.
Some Hong Kongers criticize Mainlanders' personal habits,
such as eating on public transport. Even worse incidents occur:
Last year, Mainland parents were photographed letting their
child defecate in a public area of the Harbour City shopping
mall in Tsim Sha Tsui, a popular shopping destination for Main-
In January, tensions were raised when a photographer
claimed that security guards at the Dolce & Gabbana store in
Harbour City stopped him from taking a picture of the shop's
window displays. He said store employees told him that only
people from the Mainland and foreign tourists were allowed in
To be fair, some Hong Kong people have been insensitive in
return, confronting and shouting at tourists, chanting offensive
slogans or singing songs about "locusts," a derogatory term for
Mainland Chinese who travel in large groups.
Businesses that by and large welcome Mainland tourists
can also tick off a few problems, ranging from queue jumping
and haggling in fixed-price stores to shoplifting and the proffer-
ing of counterfeit money.
Indeed, retailers would find it hard to live without them.
Marcella Chow, an economist at Bank of America-Merrill
Lynch, estimates that Mainland tourists' spending made up
about 23.4 percent of total retail sales in 2011.
Some authorities have expressed concern that many cross-
border visitors are actually importers of consumer goods,
seeking to avoid paying Mainland duties. For some retailers,
parallel importers are a non-issue. "End users make up abso-
lutely the majority of our customers," says Guy Look, a Hong
Kong Institute of CPAs member and chief financial officer of
Sasa International Holdings, which operates cosmetics stores
throughout Hong Kong and the Mainland.
Most retailers would like to see more tourists arrive in Hong
Kong. But the question is, how many is too many? The Hong
Kong government is proceeding cautiously with a plan to make
it easier for 4.1 million non-permanent residents of Shenzhen
to enter Hong Kong on multi-entry permits.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said in October that the
plan would not take effect until both Chinese and Hong Kong
authorities have confirmed that the city has the capacity to
handle so many potential visitors. "The [postponement] is
mainly to ensure the healthy development of Hong Kong's tour-
ism and to minimize the impact on Hong Kong residents' liveli-
hoods," Leung said, citing concerns registered by residents of
the northern New Territories, closest to Shenzhen.
Institute members, many of whom are in sectors that count
on Mainland visitors, are concerned about tensions. "We, as
Hong Kong residents, could do more by offering our warmest
hospitality and patience to our guests from the Mainland," says
Philips Ng, finance manager at Hong Kong Airlines.
Moreover, Mainland tourists could easily decide not to go
where they're not made to feel welcome. "I'm not sure that
tourists from the Mainland will continue to consider Hong Kong
as their first priority," says Clement Tsang, regional finance di-
rector for LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in Hong Kong
and an Institute member. "They may move on."
"I don't see any
that Hong Kong is
over-reliant on the
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