• Fri
  • Oct 24, 2014
  • Updated: 3:19am
CY Leung policy address 2014
NewsHong Kong

Critics hit back at Leung's plan to attract more visitors

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 January, 2014, 7:40pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 January, 2014, 7:34am


  • Yes: 28%
  • No: 72%
16 Jan 2014
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 363

Hong Kong is still capable of receiving more tourists, the government concluded after a study on the city’s tourism capacity.

There will be no cap on tourism numbers, but the Individual Visit Scheme allowing independent travel by residents of 49 mainland cities will not be expanded in at least two years due to public concerns, a government source said.

The scope of another permit scheme allowing Shenzhen permanent residents multiple entries to Hong Kong will also remain unchanged.

In 2012, a plan to allow Shenzhen’s 4.1 million non-permanent residents to apply for multiple-entry permits to Hong Kong was put on hold after a public outcry against crowdedness and problems arisen from cross-border parallel trading. That was when the government commenced a study to see if Hong Kong’s attractions, border control facilities and transportation are able to handle more tourists.

The study was completed at the end of last year, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said in the policy address yesterday.

“We must expand our receiving capacity, focusing on high-spending visitors, to achieve the greatest economic benefits with limited resources. We must also take appropriate and effective steps to ensure that the daily lives of our people will not be affected,” he said.

The chief executive envisioned developing a tourism and entertainment hub in Kai Tak, and building more hotels and tourism facilities on Lantau Island.

Elaborating on his comments, a government source said the study found the city had yet to reach its maximum tourism capacity. The source admitted that accommodation supply was tight but pledged that the government would be cautious in building more hotels.

Roy Tam Hoi-pong of Population Policy Concern Group said freezing the scope of the Independent Visit Scheme – which has remained unchanged since 2007 – would do little to ease overcrowding.

“The government’s conclusion that HK can still receive more tourists is very different from what citizens see during daily commutation,” he said.

He demanded abolishing the multiple-entry permit scheme and limiting Shenzhen residents to one trip to Hong Kong a month.

Lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching found a temporary freeze acceptable.

”Still, the government should continue to monitor the situation, especially how crowded the major attractions are, for future reviews, she said.

Travel Industry Council executive-director Joseph Tung Yao-chung putting a cap on tourist numbers.

“The most important thing is to ensure mainland tour groups have booked hotels for members before arriving in the city,” he said.



For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

It is up to our government to control the amount of mainland visitors. I am not a mainlander, nor do I have any interest in helping them. To be fair, however, we really cannot blame them for coming when our stupid government does not put in place adequate controls. If I were a mainlander, why wouldn't I cross the border to buy groceries when I know I'm getting genuine stuff AND get a 20-25% discount to boot...?!! And even if the HK government doesn't actually limit visitor numbers, at least impose some sort of tax so that the general HK public can at least get SOME benefit out of the mayhem on the streets. Because as it stands now, to paraphrase a US politician, all the gains are privatised while the ills are socialised. Oh, and of course there are the businessmen that will say mainland tourists are essential in creating local jobs. Well, take a quick look around and we all realise what kind of jobs it generally creates. Crappy jobs in the retail and service sectors. The word menial quickly comes to mind....
CY has been listening to the big hongs again - they need these big spending tourists to go to all the jewelry and watch shops which in turn pay the ridiculous rentals for 'prime' locations - it's just pandering to the greedy landlords yet again. No thought to the quality of life for locals at all!
"We should focus on high spending visitors."

Why is that? Why should we focus on visitors at all? If a Shenzhen tourist comes here for a day to buy a ridiculously expensive watch and dine at Joel Blablachon, what exactly do we gain from that? In the absence of any sales tax, there is nothing in it for the public purse. On the contrary: the visit burdens public infrastructure, in particular at the border. Other than than that, it is a tiny bit of low-skilled employment in the retail and F&B industry, which hardly makes up for the price pressure in retail rents, hotel accommodation etc.

If the Chief Nitwit would actually implement a luxury goods sales tax, or perhaps something along the lines of a tourist (per night) levy, or simply reinstate the HKD 100 border crossing levy, then we would at least be able to get some tax revenues to help correct for the distortions having 50 million annual tourists in a city of 7 million creates. A 100 HKD border levy alone would bring in HKD 5 billion. Every. Year. It makes the HKD 3 bn help-the-poor handout seem like peanuts.
The last thing HK needs is more tourists. Some 54 million last year or about 8 tourists for every resident. By comparison, France attracted some 83 million tourists in 2012 (wikipedia). Our little spec of real estate attracted 2/3 of what the entire country of France did. Enough already.
Hong Kong becomes a Disneyland for rich mainland tourists and red nobility; guess who gets to be the servants?
Come to Tung Chung Citygate if you want to see mainland crowds... the mainlanders even do grocery shopping there (can't blame them though). Not a lot of breathing room.


SCMP.com Account