My Take

Hong Kong's mainland tourist invasion that wasn't

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 August, 2015, 2:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 August, 2015, 2:00am

Is Hong Kong being overrun by hordes of mainland tourists?

According to a new statistical analysis by the Post, we are far from it.

Indeed, many countries and locations have far greater tourists in proportion to the local population.

The Post analysis uses a formula devised by American statistician and journalist Nate Silver, most famous for his correct predictions for the last two US presidential elections and the independence vote in Scotland.

I have no idea how pertinent Silver's formula is to Hong Kong's situation. But we are talking about a state of mind rather than facts and figures. The city at the moment is driven by anti-mainland sentiment that borders on outright hysteria and has been for some time now.

When you really don't like or even despise mainlanders, having 100 or 1,000 of them doesn't make much of a difference. It's still way too many.

In the Post study, the proportion of people in Hong Kong on any given day who are tourists is an average of 3.5 per cent.

This put us at 23rd in the top 25 places in Silver's study that are most crowded with tourists. We are way behind Singapore (4.6 per cent) and Macau (11.9 per cent).

This lends ammunition to pro-retail and tourism politicians such as New People's Party legislator Michael Tien Puk-sun, who argues the city could easily take in another 15 to 20 per cent more tourists under the individual travel scheme. Good luck with that. If you want more social conflicts and confrontations, invite in more mainland tourists.

We already have an army of "nativists" running around harassing mainland visitors, protesting against traders (many of whom are actually from Hong Kong), and filming their "misbehaviour" then blowing it out of all proportion on YouTube. It's like in their universe of discourse, there are no rude Hongkongers guilty of anti-social behaviour. A whole generation of our youngsters and university students are being raised on an anti-mainland nativist ideology under the guise of democracy.

They are not about to be convinced otherwise by a statistical formula that says we are really not overrun by mainland visitors.