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Hong Kong should capitalise on mainland tourism growth, says Leung Chun-ying

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 September, 2013, 8:27pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 September, 2013, 9:32pm
 

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Monday Hong Kong should think of ways to expand its tourism facilities to capitalise on the growth of mainland tourists.

He made the remarks after meeting with Guangdong Governor Zhu Xiaodan during a conference on cross-border co-operation held in Hong Kong.

We should actively study how to expand our capacity so that the pressure brought about by tourists can be reduced in some districts
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying

Leung said his administration and its counterpart in the mainland had noticed that the increase of tourists in recent years might have negatively affected life in certain Hong Kong districts, despite tourism’s boost to the city’s economy.

“As we recognise the contribution made by tourism to Hong Kong’s economy, we should actively study how to expand our capacity so that the pressure brought about by tourists can be reduced in some districts,” he said.

He said that, for this reason, the central government had not expanded the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) that has for years allowed residents of 49 mainland cities to visit Hong Kong on their own.

Leung said Hong Kong should take a “proactive” view on the issue of mainland tourism, and think about ways to increase the city's capacity to receive tourists.

“As we recognise the contribution made by tourism to Hong Kong’s economy, we should actively study how to expand our capacity so that the pressure brought about by tourists can be reduced in some districts,” he said.

Zhu said the IVS had benefitted Hong Kong since it was introduced 10 years ago but the mainland would review the scheme if its present scale was beyond Hong Kong’s capacity. 

“The scheme was designed to benefit Hong Kong people. [When considering] the number of visitors, the mode of visits and other specifics, we need to place Hong Kong peoples' interests first,” he said.

The cumulative number of mainland visitors who had travelled to Hong Kong under the scheme had surpassed 100 million, according to the Tourism Board.

Recently, there have been calls for a cap on the number of visitors allowed and a review of the scheme.

Some legislators and community groups said the IVS had pushed up prices and displaced small local shops in favour of large chain stores. They also said some locals were annoyed by the behaviour of mainland tourists, which they perceived as rude.

 

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