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NewsHong Kong

Lonely Planet gives word of caution about mainland-Hong Kong divide

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 November, 2012, 9:54am

A travel guide popular with tourists visiting Hong Kong advises its readers that differences between locals and mainlanders have become an issue to which they should pay close attention.

Next year's edition of Lonely Planet Hong Kong (2013) says that "differences between Hongkongers and mainland Chinese" will provide fodder for sensational headlines in the coming years, and warns of rising prices, pushed up by big-spending mainlanders and the influx of expecting mothers.

"The seemingly headlong rush for the Chinese tourist dollar, with the attendant proliferation of luxury stores in areas such as Causeway Bay and Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, has pushed up shop rentals across the board, fuelling inflation and taking many small traders off Hong Kong's once accommodating streetscape," it said.

Caroline Mak Sui-king, chairwoman of the Retail Management Association, has said that the lack of new retail space plus rising demand for land had caused rents to more than double since the Individual Visit Scheme was introduced in 2003.

The guide said that one of the "most striking" things for returning Western travellers is the influx of mainland travellers.

In 2002, Hong Kong received 16.6 million visitors, of whom 6.9 million, or 41.6 per cent, were from the mainland. By last year the number had soared to 41.9 million, 67 per cent of whom came from the mainland.

Despite the economic benefits brought by closer ties with the mainland, the guide said Hongkongers were concerned about the pressure on public services.


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I'm not sure how much the average foreign traveler will notice this difference. I speak Mandarin and understand some Cantonese, and returned to Hong Kong this spring after a 14 year absence. I thought I would see and hear all the mainland tourists, but I rarely came across them. Maybe that's because I didn't shop in luxury boutiques or stay at the Pen. But I do agree that it'll be a huge loss for Hong Kong if independent shops are driven out because rent is too expensive.
I think it depends on the location. I went once to an hospital and was shocked by the dominance of Mandarin speakers. I didn't feel I was in HK at all.
Walking by the big mall in CWB, TST or KL sometimes give the same effect.
How about Macau where it is much smaller ?
I think for Macau the difference is that they are all packed in Casinos and local don't usually walk or pass by there.
I guess that the only place they will bump into a mainlander will be the road to the St Paul's wall.


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