Mercedes Hutton

Hong Kong

Mercedes Hutton

Copy Editor and Post Magazine Columnist

Mercedes Hutton is a Hong Kong-based journalist. She joined the Post in 2018, where she writes about culture, the environment and history for Post Magazine, and covers travel and tourism in Asia in a weekly column, Destinations Known.

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Latest from Mercedes Hutton

Destinations known | Coronavirus: Omicron variant delays Asian leisure travel’s return until … well, when? Let’s hope 2022 sees us taking overseas holidays again

Tourism is vital to Asian economies both emerging and developed, as well as satisfying our urge to travel. The Omicron Covid-19 variant threatens to set back Asia’s reopening to leisure travellers.

Tourism is vital to Asian economies both emerging and developed, as well as satisfying our urge to travel. The Omicron Covid-19 variant threatens to set back Asia’s reopening to leisure travellers.

29 Dec 2021 - 8:45AM
Destinations known | Bali sees hardly any foreign tourists in 2021 as travel restrictions continue to bite, but its beaches still drown in rubbish

Thirty tons of trash were removed from just one Bali beach on December 7 as domestic tourists – 13,000 a weekend, reportedly – are making up for the lack of foreign visitors.

Thirty tons of trash were removed from just one Bali beach on December 7 as domestic tourists – 13,000 a weekend, reportedly – are making up for the lack of foreign visitors.

22 Dec 2021 - 8:45AM
Destinations known | Does Australia need Chinese tourists? Confidence in domestic tourism to prop things up could be misplaced

Australia’s tourism minister seems confident that domestic travellers can keep the market afloat, but new data shows a large drop in spending, affected by Covid-19 and recent bush fires.

Australia’s tourism minister seems confident that domestic travellers can keep the market afloat, but new data shows a large drop in spending, affected by Covid-19 and recent bush fires.

15 Dec 2021 - 10:18AM
Destinations known | Is Hong Kong a ‘good’ tourist destination? Food culture, architecture, infrastructure, landscape – check. Shopping – lost some of its sheen. Events? Hmm

The city’s food, culture, architecture, infrastructure and landscape all get a tick, but shopping has lost some of its sheen. As for events? Hmm.

The city’s food, culture, architecture, infrastructure and landscape all get a tick, but shopping has lost some of its sheen. As for events? Hmm.

10 Dec 2021 - 10:56AM
Destinations known | Does new Omicron variant justify Hong Kong’s extreme 21-day quarantine?

A patient who tested positive for Omicron while in mandatory quarantine is a win for Hong Kong’s unpopular regulation as countries step up measures to prevent its spread.

A patient who tested positive for Omicron while in mandatory quarantine is a win for Hong Kong’s unpopular regulation as countries step up measures to prevent its spread.

1 Dec 2021 - 1:37PM
Destinations known | Philippines to offer quarantine-free travel to tourists from places on its green list, but main source market South Korea isn’t currently included

South Korea is currently absent from the list of places the Philippines will reportedly reopen to before the end of the year, but a separate vaccinated travel lane could be created.

South Korea is currently absent from the list of places the Philippines will reportedly reopen to before the end of the year, but a separate vaccinated travel lane could be created.

24 Nov 2021 - 8:45AM
Destinations known | Hong Kong border reopening with mainland China could make Macau one of the biggest winners

An estimated 15 to 20 per cent of Macau’s gaming revenue came from or via Hong Kong pre-pandemic, so any travel easing could give the gambling mecca a welcome boost.

An estimated 15 to 20 per cent of Macau’s gaming revenue came from or via Hong Kong pre-pandemic, so any travel easing could give the gambling mecca a welcome boost.

26 Nov 2021 - 3:45PM
Destinations known | Hong Kong’s long-delayed M+ museum opens, but it may not put city on the cultural tourism map given Covid-19 travel curbs and security law

As an addition to Hong Kong’s tourism portfolio, M+ will prob­ably be a hit – but given travel restrictions and national security law concerns, it may not put the city on the cultural tourism map as firmly as once hoped.

As an addition to Hong Kong’s tourism portfolio, M+ will prob­ably be a hit – but given travel restrictions and national security law concerns, it may not put the city on the cultural tourism map as firmly as once hoped.

12 Nov 2021 - 8:22AM
Destinations known | Thailand travel opens up to vaccinated tourists, but who from Asia is visiting? It might just be the Indians

Thailand is getting back to what it does best after 18 long and economically arduous months, but right now it could just be travellers from India who take advantage.

Thailand is getting back to what it does best after 18 long and economically arduous months, but right now it could just be travellers from India who take advantage.

3 Nov 2021 - 10:23AM
Destinations known | Squid Game locations in South Korea like Jeju Island see surge in online interest, but why does watching the Netflix hit make people want to visit?

As interest in hotspots like Jeju Island surge, Squid Game has seemingly become an ad for South Korea as a tourist destination. But watching the show is a strange reason to want to visit.

As interest in hotspots like Jeju Island surge, Squid Game has seemingly become an ad for South Korea as a tourist destination. But watching the show is a strange reason to want to visit.

27 Oct 2021 - 8:45AM
Destinations known | A million Chinese tourists a year to Sri Lanka? It is still waiting

Sri Lanka’s ambassador to China recently reasserted that goal, and one of China’s largest outbound travel agencies has reportedly committed to it.

Sri Lanka’s ambassador to China recently reasserted that goal, and one of China’s largest outbound travel agencies has reportedly committed to it.

20 Oct 2021 - 8:48AM
Destinations known | Elephant tourism vicious circle: why Bali’s Sumatran elephants, suffering a horrific ‘lockdown’, need visitors to survive

Reports that one elephant tourism camp left more than a dozen of the animals to starve highlight how Sumatran elephants in Bali are stuck in a vicious circle.

Reports that one elephant tourism camp left more than a dozen of the animals to starve highlight how Sumatran elephants in Bali are stuck in a vicious circle.

14 Oct 2021 - 9:53AM
Destinations known | Thailand targets Indian tourists – and their big fat destination weddings – to make up for ongoing lack of Chinese travellers

The relaxing of stipulations in Thailand means no quarantine for vaccinated tourists and reduced quarantine nationwide for any visitors. Chief among those they want to attract? Big-spending Indian travellers.

The relaxing of stipulations in Thailand means no quarantine for vaccinated tourists and reduced quarantine nationwide for any visitors. Chief among those they want to attract? Big-spending Indian travellers.

6 Oct 2021 - 2:56PM
Destinations known | Will Singapore win the battle for Chinese tourists amid China’s decoupling from US and the world?

When travel restrictions are lifted, Chinese tourists will likely go only where they feel safe and welcomed – and top of that list, according to a report, is Singapore.

When travel restrictions are lifted, Chinese tourists will likely go only where they feel safe and welcomed – and top of that list, according to a report, is Singapore.

6 Oct 2021 - 2:47PM
Asia’s ‘walled city’: why Hong Kong’s travel curbs hurt more than tourism

Hongkongers are subject to some of the world’s toughest pandemic-related travel restrictions, decimating the city’s tourism industry. However, the SCMP's Mercedes Hutton says it’s not just travel that “fortress” Hong Kong’s barricades are hurting – the spirit of the city itself is being eroded.

Hongkongers are subject to some of the world’s toughest pandemic-related travel restrictions, decimating the city’s tourism industry. However, the SCMP's Mercedes Hutton says it’s not just travel that “fortress” Hong Kong’s barricades are hurting – the spirit of the city itself is being eroded.

22 Sep 2021 - 3:57PM
Destinations known | Bali to ban backpackers? No, but ‘quality tourism’ comments ruffle feathers, and reopening regulations may put off budget travellers anyway

An Indonesian minister quickly corrected his remark that backpackers would be barred from Bali after it reopens, but the insinuation that budget travellers are undesirables remained.

An Indonesian minister quickly corrected his remark that backpackers would be barred from Bali after it reopens, but the insinuation that budget travellers are undesirables remained.

22 Sep 2021 - 8:56AM
Destinations known | Should Thailand’s sex capital ready itself for a ‘Chinese takeover’? Pattaya paper forecasts 5 possible post-pandemic futures for the city

That’s one of five possible post-pandemic futures for Pattaya forecast by a local newspaper, with others including a return to the good old days, and being only for the rich.

That’s one of five possible post-pandemic futures for Pattaya forecast by a local newspaper, with others including a return to the good old days, and being only for the rich.

15 Sep 2021 - 10:48AM
Destinations known | A new Thai temple bears a likeness to Angkor Wat, and Cambodian internet users are not happy about it

A temple under construction in Thailand is being condemned for its likeness to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, one of the most famous temples in the world.

A temple under construction in Thailand is being condemned for its likeness to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, one of the most famous temples in the world.

8 Sep 2021 - 3:49PM
Destinations known | Why Hong Kong’s travel restrictions are hurting more than just its tourism industry – the spirit of the city itself is being eroded

The city’s travel restrictions to keep Covid-19 out are among the world’s strictest, but it’s not just tourism that’s suffering – the spirit of Hong Kong itself is being eroded.

The city’s travel restrictions to keep Covid-19 out are among the world’s strictest, but it’s not just tourism that’s suffering – the spirit of Hong Kong itself is being eroded.

2 Sep 2021 - 11:57AM
Destinations known | Why is everyone so obsessed with Bali, yet ignorant of Indonesia’s 17,500 other islands?

Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation, yet a former president complains the world doesn’t know where it is … until Bali is mentioned.

Indonesia is the fourth most populous nation, yet a former president complains the world doesn’t know where it is … until Bali is mentioned.

25 Aug 2021 - 8:57AM
Destinations known | Thailand bans sunscreen in marine parks to preserve delicate slow growing coral reefs, but is it going to be enough?

Thailand’s coral reefs are being damaged by UV filtering ingredients in sunscreens, and the country has moved to ban these products to protect them. However, other ingredients, such as zinc oxide, are still permitted despite their toxicity to marine organisms.

Thailand’s coral reefs are being damaged by UV filtering ingredients in sunscreens, and the country has moved to ban these products to protect them. However, other ingredients, such as zinc oxide, are still permitted despite their toxicity to marine organisms.

18 Aug 2021 - 10:13AM
Destinations known | How Phuket’s ‘sandbox’ scheme became entangled with an alleged murder, highlighting the vulnerability of solo female travellers

A 57-year-old Swiss woman ‘believed to be raped and murdered’ was on the Thai island because of the pilot sandbox tourism scheme, highlighting the vulnerability of solo female travellers.

A 57-year-old Swiss woman ‘believed to be raped and murdered’ was on the Thai island because of the pilot sandbox tourism scheme, highlighting the vulnerability of solo female travellers.

11 Aug 2021 - 8:45AM
Destinations known | Why Singapore is banking on a cartoon to keep Indian tourists interested in the Lion City, a ‘perennial favourite among Indians as a family destination’

Singapore’s tourism board is reaching out to grounded Indians by bringing out an cartoon aimed at Indian kids that it presumably hopes encourages post-pandemic travel from India to Singapore.

Singapore’s tourism board is reaching out to grounded Indians by bringing out an cartoon aimed at Indian kids that it presumably hopes encourages post-pandemic travel from India to Singapore.

4 Aug 2021 - 9:08AM
Destinations known | What if Macau is ‘gifted’ Chinese island of Hengqin, where some of the big casino names already own land, as reports suggest?

If China hands over Hengqin island to next-door Macau, as growing media chatter suggests, it would boost tourism – but of the non-gaming kind.

If China hands over Hengqin island to next-door Macau, as growing media chatter suggests, it would boost tourism – but of the non-gaming kind.

2 Aug 2021 - 11:39AM
How much will a lack of tourists at the Tokyo Olympics cost Japan?

With one quintessential element lacking from the Olympic equation in the Japanese capital – crowds – the nation looks set to lose out. Post Magazine columnist Mercedes Hutton explains.

With one quintessential element lacking from the Olympic equation in the Japanese capital – crowds – the nation looks set to lose out. Post Magazine columnist Mercedes Hutton explains.

22 Jul 2021 - 8:23PM
Destinations known | Bali eyed as Hollywood film production hub, prompting ‘film tourism’ chatter – the island could have the kind of exposure Crazy Rich Asians gave to Singapore

A plan to turn Bali into a production hub for Hollywood films could give it the kind of exposure, and tourism benefits New Zealand had from Lord of the Rings and Singapore from Crazy Rich Asians.

A plan to turn Bali into a production hub for Hollywood films could give it the kind of exposure, and tourism benefits New Zealand had from Lord of the Rings and Singapore from Crazy Rich Asians.

21 Jul 2021 - 11:00AM
Destinations known | Tokyo Olympics: how much will the lack of tourists and ticket buyers cost Japan?

With one quintessential element lacking from the Olympic equation in the Japanese capital – crowds – it will be up to the government to make up what could be billions of dollars lost.

With one quintessential element lacking from the Olympic equation in the Japanese capital – crowds – it will be up to the government to make up what could be billions of dollars lost.

14 Jul 2021 - 8:45AM
Destinations known | Asia’s coolest island? Jeju, apparently – or is it just gentrifying?

Asia Times has named what it deems ‘Asia’s coolest island’ and it’s not in Thailand or the Philippines. It’s actually the South Korean holiday destination of Jeju.

Asia Times has named what it deems ‘Asia’s coolest island’ and it’s not in Thailand or the Philippines. It’s actually the South Korean holiday destination of Jeju.

7 Jul 2021 - 8:45AM
Australia-China ties continue to sour – so why do Aussies still want Chinese tourists?

China and Australia seem to have something of a love-hate relationship. On one hand, three-quarters of Australians say they distrust the Chinese government. But on the other hand, almost as many think Australia should continue to make itself an attractive destination for Chinese tourists. 

China and Australia seem to have something of a love-hate relationship. On one hand, three-quarters of Australians say they distrust the Chinese government. But on the other hand, almost as many think Australia should continue to make itself an attractive destination for Chinese tourists. 

30 Jun 2021 - 6:42PM
Destinations known | When will Taiwan open for travel again? Shortage of Covid-19 vaccinations and April outbreak complete a reversal of fortune

Reeling from an April outbreak and suffering a shortage of vaccines, Taiwan, once the envy of the world for how it managed Covid-19, could stay closed to visitors for a good while yet.

Reeling from an April outbreak and suffering a shortage of vaccines, Taiwan, once the envy of the world for how it managed Covid-19, could stay closed to visitors for a good while yet.

30 Jun 2021 - 8:45AM