• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 2:53am
Chinese tourists
CommentInsight & Opinion

Tourists need manners reminder

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2014, 4:35am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 August, 2014, 12:50pm

The huge influx of mainland tourists has given rise to conflict over their impact on our shopping neighbourhoods. But if there is one issue on which we could empathise with them, it was the notorious practice of "forced shopping" at designated venues to make up for cheap packaged tours. The villains of this stain on the city's reputation were tour guides who acted as enforcers, to the point of abusing reluctant shoppers. It made a comeback in one incident recently after the authorities had put in place rules and practices to deter it.

Now, however, the boot is on the other foot. Three times last week tour guides were attacked, following a case last month in which a court fined a tourist HK$1,500 for injuring a guide after being denied a chance to visit Disneyland. In the latest incidents, a female guide needed hospital treatment for neck injuries after being grabbed by a 32-year-old tourist, who was fined HK$3,000 and ordered to pay HK$1,000 compensation. In another, a 38-year-old tourist escaped legal action after writing an apology to a male guide with whom he had scuffled after being told not to smoke. The other incident was also related to smoking in public, a habit that sets Hong Kong and the mainland apart. The assailant intervened when the guide reprimanded one of her party for littering with a cigarette butt.

Given the volume of cross-border tourism, publicity for such incidents can give mainlanders an undeserved reputation that does nothing to smooth social tensions arising from the pressure of tourism on the city's infrastructure. After all, our courts and law enforcers are all too familiar with visitors from other countries, often the worse for drink, who behave in ways they would not dream of at home.

Better regulation and education of the cross-border tourism industry has paid dividends. There is room for the industry to do more to see that visitors are familiarised with local customs. There is no better time for such an initiative, with arrivals due to surge during the National Day holiday in little over a month. But it should not be confined to visitors from China.


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This article is now closed to comments

Last Thursday in Harbour City, TST, we made the mistake of going into shops like Uniqlo and Gap, seemed to be some sale going on. Both times while in line, mainlanders just cut right in front of us, all the while screaming at the top of their lungs at their relatives that were just barely 3m away from each other. They strongly smelled like bad socks and cigarettes. Got the heck out of there and didn't look back.
Have to hand it to the sales people who work at these shops, they have more patience than I do, one can only imagine what the weekend would be like.
Anyone that needs a reminder for good manners probably never had them in the first place, so gentle isn't the right word :)
Crude, c-o-a-r-s-e, and uncivilized behavior is to be expected from the mainlanders.
Manners, politeness, and courtesy were punished in the PRC.
Even a wild animal knows it's place in society, its boundaries, if it is encroaching on someone else's territory and will usually show some gratitude if given food or affection from a person. It's inherent in animals but mainlanders are another story when manners and etiquette are concerned.
This editorial is more a platitude and very weak in substance. The tourism industry is not in the business of education. Even it needs an education in issue of much larger in importance. The editorial is a PR job for the industry that comes on untimely late.
I remember a foreign reporter’s letter in SCMP years ago describing how a group of Chinese reporters after a long excursion on a job mission, these otherwise serious behaving reporters turned to be upbeat and sentimentally embracing each other and exchanging contacting information before disbanded. To the foreign reporter,, it was quite a school children behavior in demonstration.
Here is a demonstration of a tendency of people change their behavior when they are in a group. They normally become bolder releasing an energy otherwise normally don’t even exist. That is egged on by the presence of a crowd. Police knows very well of such human fallacy in unruly behavior thus dispersing the crowd the police must. Too, police was using herd behavior as accused for instigating rowdy behavior of the new-town proposal protest groups.

It is perhaps difficult to prepare people by education to control one’s herd behavior when in a group. Hong Kong experienced more unruly behavior from the mainland tourists than those reporters’ harmless sentimental ones..
I suggest either the mainland government should address herd behavior as a education subject for its departing groups or group visits should be kept to the minimal.


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