If Hong Kong protects its culture, visitors will stay longer

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 4:32pm
UPDATED : Monday, 09 October, 2017, 11:09pm

After reading several articles while visiting Hong Kong, I’ve noticed that a number of them are concerned about tourism and maintaining the city’s visitor numbers. Having been a business visitor over a number of years, often staying on for a break, I see that it would be interesting to undertake some research on a strategy for keeping visitors here longer. I would only recommend a colleague or friend to stay here for four days.

Hong Kong’s reliance on shopping is dangerous, when countries now have low-cost internet deliveries and can buy goods direct from China. These can be delivered direct to your home more cheaply than in Hong Kong markets. Famous brands are available in most big cities. Globalisation also encourages manufacturers to manipulate prices to keep them the same in all markets.

This leads me to holiday experiences. Hong Kong views are unique; however, there are many countries that have great views and in many countries you can spend months enjoying different amazing views each day.

However, I think there may be other opportunities for Hong Kong. Take Bilbao, Spain, with a population of only 345,000. It has the Guggenheim Museum, a fantastic draw. Or, look at Dundee, Scotland (population 148,000) a small city where the new V&A Museum of Design building is being constructed.

I believe a survey would place these higher in the world rankings than what is available in Hong Kong.

It does have some interesting museums; however, they are buildings I would visit to get out of the heat, not ones that would encourage me to stay longer in the city.

Perhaps a strategy is needed that does not look at visitor numbers but the length of stays. Hong Kong is ideally situated to improve its tourism by being a cultural draw. Culture is not just about museums but about people and how they live. One of my most amazing visits was to Tai O: places like this should be protected. Visits to the outlying islands are fun.

Protecting and promoting these are to everyone’s benefit. Hong Kong investing in unique world-class attractions would also lengthen visits.

Shopping centres have their place, but do not offer a unique selling proposition – for sustainable tourism Hong Kong needs to keep investing in new experiences that can only be found here. What are they? They need to be discovered and created.

Colin Mackenzie, Edinburgh, Scotland