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