Chinese tourists give Hong Kong thumbs down in ratings drop

Accommodation and immigration facilities scored the least with this group but visitors from other countries gave HK top marks

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 28 March, 2013, 10:04am

Mainlanders are growing less satisfied with Hong Kong as a holiday destination, according to an annual index compiled by Polytechnic University's school of hotel and tourism management.

Accommodation was a particularly worrying aspect, as the "Tourist Satisfaction Index", published yesterday, found its rating among mainlanders dropping last year to a new low of 66 points out of 100, since the survey started in 2009.

Tourism leaders have called on the government to focus on high-end hotel facilities in order to lead, not follow, the market.

Immigration was the second least satisfactory item, followed by restaurants, shopping and attractions. Transport was the highest-scoring item among the tourists, who make up the biggest slice of the industry.

The feeling of mainlanders contrasts with that of people from the rest of the world, who pushed the city's annual score to a record high of 75.

Worldwide, Japanese and Korean, and Taiwanese and Macanese visitors were the two groups least happy with Hong Kong in terms of tourism, although both groups gave Hong Kong a higher score than in 2011.

American visitors were the most happy with the city.

Hong Kong attracted an unprecedented 48.6 million visitors last year, the school said.

Professor Kaye Chon, dean of the school, said only high-end tourist facilities including hotels helped make the city a market leader. Although the number of mainlanders visiting Hong Kong has increased, some local residents say the influx has strained resources - a dual-sided issue Chon called "a happy problem". "Hong Kong has its own carrying capacity," Chon said.

Professor Song Haiyan, from the same school, said he believed the lower rating from Asian visitors was due to the familiarity of the culture, which resulted in "less excitement".

"Long-haul travellers, meanwhile, can usually afford high-end services, which might explain why American tourists seemed more satisfied with Hong Kong," Song said.

Michael Li Hon-shing, executive director of the Federation of Hotel Owners, agreed with Chon's views on hotel development. He said Hong Kong had "so-called hotels", which should not be encouraged in the future.

Li said they did not offer basic food and beverage facilities, nor did they meet the standard staff-to-room ratio of 0.7 - sometimes they hired a dozen employees to handle 100 rooms, he said.