• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 8:29am
NewsHong Kong
SOCIETY

'Drastic' 20pc cut in mainland visitors only one option, says Leung

Advisory body working to 'fine-tune' the number of tourists allowed

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 May, 2014, 4:22am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 May, 2014, 11:35am

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying today said that a 20 per cent cut in the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong was only one option being considered by a key government appointed advisory body.

Speaking before an Executive Council meeting this morning, Leung said there could be a need for what he called “demand management” of tourist numbers before any decision is made on Hong Kong’s visitor capacity.

“[It is about] whether [we should] slow down the increase of visitors, or stop it, or reduce the number of visitors. We shall conduct various studies and will reflect Hong Kong’s views to the central government,” Leung said.

The government was now listening to the views of the public, businesses and the tourism sector, he said.

Tourism is an important sector of Hong Kong’s economy, he stressed, adding: “We will make sure that whatever we do, when we arrive at a decision, we will have a full understanding of the implications of any new policy.”

During a meeting of the Commission on Strategic Development yesterday, Leung reportedly sought opinions on a 20 per cent reduction to the 40 million mainlanders visiting Hong Kong every year.

On yesterday’s agenda was the recent tensions between Hong Kong and the mainland, partly brought about by an influx of mainland visitors under the mainland’s individual visit scheme.

He said today: “It is impossible for anyone to formulate any measure that can accurately fine-tune the number of visitors, be it a 20 per cent cut or 15 per cent cut.

“At this stage, we are listening to different views and the government has not come up with any proposal.”

“The Individual visit scheme is a central government policy,” he added.

A 20 per cent reduction in visitors to the city is too drastic, members of the commission said yesterday.

Leung, who chairs the commission, sought opinions on an option of a 20 per cent reduction to the 40 million mainlanders visiting Hong Kong every year, according to one of the members.

"Everyone opposed such a drastic cut," said the member, who declined to be named.

Another member, lawmaker Ben Chan Han-pan, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said most members agreed the city was overcrowded, but doubted if individual visitors from the mainland were the main cause.

"If we just cut the number of mainland visitors without solving the problems - such as the school places shortage caused by children born to mainlanders - those problems will remain," Chan said.

Chan added that reducing the number of mainland visitors would help to ease tensions in the city, but some members said it would be detrimental to the economy."Some businesses relying on mainland visitors may have to close down," he said.

Meanwhile, a survey by the North District Parallel Imports Concern Group found that the number of pharmacies in Shek Wu Hui, Sheung Shui, increased by 26 per cent in the past year.

The group tallied the number of shops in the area targeting parallel-goods traders and mainlanders twice last year, and in January this year. It says the individual visit scheme for mainlanders has seen more visitors engaging in parallel-goods trading and has limited the variety of shops in border areas.

From last June to January, the number of money changers in the area rose from 23 to 31, while processed food wholesalers went from 10 to 16.

Pharmacies were up from 34 to 43. The number of wholesalers suspected to be targeting the traders went up from seven to 26. The group called for multiple-entry permits for mainlanders to be scrapped and wants the individual visit scheme cut.

 

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17

This article is now closed to comments

syn
A large detrimental effect on the local economy? What's the makeup of this "pillar" 5%? How much of that money ends up in the pockets of people in Hong Kong? 1%? 2? The rest going to parasitic landlords, overseas businesses, or chains owned by mainland Chinese, themselves? Seems like a conflict of interest.
Here's something they didn't include in their scare tactis: yes, many business relying on mainland tourists will shut down. But, guess what? Businesses relying on local business will open and flourish. What a waste of breath from these people.
Dao-Phooy
The comments against a 20% reduction of Mainland visitors are totally unconvincing. The shopping experience for locals in Sheung Shui, and Fanling must be grim for residents with the plethora of pharmacies and jewelry and watch shops which have sprung up to service the Mainland tourists. There appears to be a complete disconnect between these people on yet another Quango, the Commission on Strategic Development, and the consensus by ordinary Hong Kongers that there are too many Mainland tourists. Can the CE please indicate who is in charge of this problem as there too many bureau and ministers involved - all useless - if judged by their public comments. The Government needs to formulate a policy which addresses the growing resentment of local people otherwise it will just get uglier. Even if Commission members have declared any interests in businesses it really is a fig leaf as unfortunately, cronyism is rampant!
aplucky1
too drastic?
NOT ENOUGH
we know , only the filthy greedy biz owners who get to vote think it is too drastic
bagelbagel
Wonder how many of those Members have business interests that relates to the influx of mainlanders
sipsip1238
"Everyone opposed such a drastic cut," said the member, who declined to be named.
I guess when Nameless speaks, he speaks for everyone...
horacejeffry
School problems can be solved rather simply : entry and exit fee for ALL people who cross the land borders so also Hong Kongers themselves This will levy a heavy "tax" on the kids mainland parents who come to Hong Kong for free school. So now in effect they will pay for school.
Shenzhen authorities are now already checking more on cross border smugglers as local companies complain they have unfair competition. Travel documents are withheld for several hours and smugglers have to pay "storage" fee for their withheld goods : Great Job Shenzhen
the impact of 20 percent less visitors depends on who the visitors are, high spending one time visitors or those who cross the border daily to come and buy daily necessities. I say reduce the daily visitors which can be simply done with an entry and exit levy just as for the airport tax and do it on all people so you do not discriminate. This will also stop all grannie's from going to Shenzhen to buy cheap veggie and clog up the border
teresaleema
Pleaes visit Ocean Park once and observe how they behave , you know the reason why 20pc really is not enough !!!!
537f1b68-d068-4cba-9683-35060a320969
Bureaucracy and red tape at their finest. A great case study for students majoring in politics.
My take: Money talks and B.S walks. Any star trek fans here ? Vulcans - “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."
Ferengi - "Rule of Acquisition 152. Ask not what your profits can do for you; ask what you can do for your profits."
This dysfunctional political system is actually parallel to that of the start trek universe.
ton1998
Just give hk resident one daily entry to China and mainland people one daily entry to Hong Kong , all the traders can go only one time , will be more quiet in Lowu border.
Go to Lowu train station , hk and mainland buyers are every where , you can't pass anymore , no shop rent , all make a big mass.
ianson
A 50 per cent cut would still leave us with tens of millions of mainland tourist ploughing through our crowded space every year. That's the sort of number to be worked on.

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