SCMP, November 18, 2002 As we report today, the Hong Kong Tourism Board counts these arrivals as they pass through the SAR on both legs of their journey to the mainland, even though they often stay a matter of hours here. Such accounting means that about 35 per cent of the 11.74 million arrivals registered - and trumpeted - by the government headed to new destinations on the same day. The larger players in the travel industry will react with a shrug to the news. Many, afterall, such as the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners, are already aware of the cooking of the tourist books. Instead, they prefer their own more hard-boiled analysis for their own business planning. Prudent as this is, it is a wonder they are not complaining more loudly about the waste this causes during such tough times. The rest of us, it seems, are expected to make plans on the basis of openly- dubious figures. This is most unfortunate. In times of recession, businesses big and small rely on the most rigorous estimates for sound business management. The situation is made worse by the fact that this government openly encourages tourism as a key plank of Hong Kong's economic future, driving a full range of businesses and workers to buy-in to the concept of 'Asia's World City'. The cynics will now wonder whether it is more like Asia's transit hub. Official explanations that suggest Hong Kong is merely following international standards are not good enough, either. The reality of modern Hong Kong - both in its advantages and challenges - means it is quite unlike any other tourist centre. Hong Kong remains a cosmopolitan, exotic destination with a cityscape, cultural and culinary tradition equally unique. Surely there is a lot to tempt the most hard-bitten regional transit passenger. In that regard, it would now seem vital to find out why more aren't leaving the confines of Chek Lap Kok. Is it a problem with promotion? Is it Hong Kong's high costs? News of the double-counting procedure does suggest some new research is in order. The potential impact of getting some of those in transit to enter the city speaks for itself. The old battle cry of 'stay an extra day' suddenly seems a little tired. How about 'spend the night', for starters? Glossary trumpet (v) to say or declare something loudly Example: A party member since she was 14 years old, Guo Fenglian is the ideal person to trumpet President Jiang Zemin's theory, which calls for the party to embrace entrepreneurs and social elites, part of the Communist Party's efforts to reinvent itself. (SCMP, November 9, 2002) shrug (n) the act of raising one's shoulders. It is taken as a gesture of doubt or indifference. Shrug can also be used as a verb. The phrasal verb shrug off means not to worry about something and treat it as unimportant. Example: Hu Jintao, the new general secretary of the Communist Party, toiled to become an outstanding student because he knew education was the only way to shrug off his family's capitalist past. (SCMP, November 17, 2002) hard-boiled (adj) practical and tough dubious (adj) hesitating or doubtful plank (n) a fundamental point of a political programme culinary (adj) relating to food Discussion points - Visitors who simply stop off at a place on their way to another country are called transit visitors. How can Hong Kong make these transit visitors stay longer? - In what ways are the transit visitors different from other visitors? Why do they travel to Hong Kong if their ultimate destination is somewhere else? - If you were travelling to a country whichhad no direct flights from Hong Kong, and you would have to change flights somewhere, where would you like to go for your stopover?