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  • Jul 26, 2014
  • Updated: 11:51pm

Chinese tourists

China's Vice-Premier Wang Yang in May 2013 acknowledged that "uncivilised behaviour" by its citizens abroad was harming the country's image. He cited "talking loudly in public places, jaywalking, spitting and wilfully carving characters on items in scenic zones". Destination countries have been easing visa restrictions to attract more tourists from China, but reports have emerged of complaints about etiquette.

CommentInsight & Opinion
LEADER

Let the free market determine flow of tourists

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 June, 2014, 3:25am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 June, 2014, 8:42am

Tourism from the mainland has become such a sensitive issue in Hong Kong that the merest hint of government intervention to curb growing numbers of visitors affects the share price of companies that benefit. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying acknowledged last week that authorities were looking into the need for a strategy, although he played down suggestions that cutting the influx by 20 per cent was on the cards. That was enough to jolt property and retail stocks, alarming shareholders and those employed in the sectors. Bosses, workers and investors don't need such uncertainties; an approach centred on our free market spirit has to be clearly articulated.

Growing anti-mainland sentiment makes a response a necessity. The bigotry and selfishness shown by some Hongkongers during protests are not reason to cap numbers. Valid arguments have been put forward, though, so there may be a need for local and mainland authorities to modify policies. At the least, better research and cooperation and coordination are necessities.

Numbers have risen dramatically in recent years, largely the result of the introduction in 2009 of one-year visas that allow multiple entries. Mainland visitor numbers rose to 40.7 million last year, up 16.7 per cent on 2012, almost three-quarters of the total arrivals of 54.3 million. Estimates that tourist numbers will climb to 100 million by 2020 have worried residents already fretting about the fabric of districts being altered as traditional retail outlets are replaced by those catering solely for tourists, and as streets and public transport become more crowded and rents in affected districts rise.

Tourism has to be sustainable - the outcome for visitors, residents and companies has to be positive. To ensure that benefits are not detrimentally eroded, all aspects of the tourism industry have to be thoroughly debated, researched and monitored. There may well be a need to adjust policies to limit numbers. But we should also have faith in the free market to determine the flows of people, goods and services.

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syn
1) Tell the owner of HKTV this is a free market with free entry into industries and watch him laugh in your face..
2) Inbalanced taxes between mainland and HK + unregulated importation of those products + cartels forcing out other smaller businesses and elevating prices through vertical supply chains?
Forget all the currency talk, just get the basics correct, first.
A Matsui
The Chinese government should ban mainland Chinese from travel to HK and Macau. Stop mainland Chinese from wasting money in HK, and gambling away their money in Macau. It should provide everything HK provide in Shenzhen and should build a few dozen casinos in Shanghai.
johndoe
Free markets can create prosperity but there is no free market in currency and money in Hong Kong. The peg is an non-market intervention and interest rates are set by committees, not by money markets. HK needs a free market in currency urgently. This must be a top priority. The peg is hurting Hong Kong in many ways which can be changed any time. The peg was an insider scheme for several reasons:
1. Completely wrong interest rates. The interest rate in HKD should be at least 5-6% when looking at headline inflation and US perpetual QE.
2. Undervalued currency by at least 40% vs. the USD and RMB. Increasing the value of the HKD would practically eliminate parallel imports which is the majority of all "tourist arrivals" bogus stats.
3. Undervalued local wages in real terms and excessive import prices raising prices of food, energy and other essential goods, a neo feudal society.
4. As a consequnce of 1, 2, and 3, excessive credit issuance and currency destruction, overvaluing property by at least 50%-70% vs median wages and debt serfdom.
The rich oligarchs in Hong Kong want the peg because it forces the HKMA to flood the local economy with more HKD to maintain the exchange rate within the band, driving up local inflation, and keeping credit costs near zero, further flooding the market with domestic credit from commercial banks to debt enslave the 99%. Cheap currencies tend to benefit rentiers over workers. The entire Hong Kong economy is suffering badly from the peg.
m2leung
I love the free market principles. I think HK will thrive if it becomes a free market. First, let's get rid of the USD peg and see what the free market will do for HKD. First, we can set our interest rates and burst the property bubble. The RMB will fall once the Hong Kong interest rates rises to the market level, making it less attractive for mainlanders to come spend their money in HK.
virokick
They won't un- peg as it would cause business to slow down- by claiming we will be less competitive.
What the rich one is cheap HKD , cheap wages but relatively high property prices.
kctony
You know that won't happen. The Li's and Lee's made sure of that already.
virokick
Free markets allow Mainlanders, rich landlords and foreigners to snap up properties here - than as price increases - also rent it back to local HK people at high rents.
HK's duty is to uphold free market principles so that the rich can and will continue enslaving the poor by simply buying property and make living more expensive for non-property owners.
Effectively it's a form of slavery. But in HK it's called free markets.
kctony
What free market? Is the HK property market a free market?.
The skyrocket rent is weakening the economy plus the social effect makes HK a difficult place to live for the majority of the HK people. There is nothing wrong to let the rent drop. It should not have gone up to this level in the first place.
CY is doing the right thing. Free market must take a back seat to social stability.
johndoe
Bear in mind that there are 250,000 empty housing units in Hong Kong, roughly a decade of housing production standing empty as owners hold property when the currency keeps depreciating and interest rates are near zero. By unpegging the HKD, raising interest rates to curb local credit growth, particularly M1 and M2, and taxing empty units, significant amounts of new units would be released into the market. The 2 year speculative holding period limit and associated stamp duty taxes should be scrapped immediately to increase market liquidity which would effectively allow prices to adjust downwards quickly.
virokick
Free market religion for HK but high taxed, protective markets for China and the rest of the developed World.Free market is not social cost free to majority HK people who suffer the effects. Free markets as an excuse for the rich to get richer.
Free markets to allow over crowding , long queues at MTRs, school enrolment , hospitals, new property launches.
Free markets to allow more sub-divided flats , cage homes and working poor.
Free markets to allow the shockingly low average income per employee at $14,000 per month and 17 years of average income to own an average 650sqft property.
Free markets is economic dictatorship by the rich few-disguising it as economic liberalisation.

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