08 May 2014

"Dev't of Tourism Shall Not Make Locals Feel Repulsive": LegCo brief

Development of Tourism Shall Not Make Locals Feel Repulsive
Translated by Chen-t'ang 鎮棠, Written by Passion Times Editorial Team
Original: http://www.passiontimes.hk/article/05-08-2014/14886 

(Source: Passion Times and LegCo Brief)

The LegCo Secretariat disclosed the Research Brief on Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) of Chinese Tourists yesterday (7th May). It pointed out that the number of mainland tourists sky-rocketed since the announcement of the scheme in July, 2003, with total number of visitors surpassing the UK, South Korea and Japan.

Hong Kong received 54.3 million visitors in 2013 which exceeded the amount received by the United Kingdom (31.1 million), South Korea (12.2 million), Japan (10.4 million) and Australia (6.5 million).

54.3 million visitors were received in 2013, with three quarters being mainland tourists - more than double than the figure back in 2002, where only 16.6 million were received and 41.2% being mainland tourists.

The brief also said IVS brought a robust growth to the retail industry of Hong Kong. The proportion of mainland tourists' spending to the total revenue of retail industry in HK surged from 4.5% in 2004, to 22.2% in 2013. Not only do IVS tourists come Hong Kong more frequently, but also they have higher purchasing power. For example, they spend HKD$3593 per day, far higher than non-mainland tourists ($1970).

But the research also pointed out that IVS has raised concerns over the impact of mainland visitors' influx to locals. Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line and Kwun Tong Line have reached their fullest capacities; the retail shop rental levels surged for nearly 70% since 2004, and the number of cosmetics and personal care products shops escalated by 1500%, but the number of groceries selling household goods falled for nearly 30%. Shops are getting less varieties than before.

Lastly, it says that when the government assesses the carrying capacity (CC) of the HK Tourism, it is not sufficient to merely look at the CC of tourist attractions, but also to make references to one of the factor suggested by the EU - "Social Carrying Capacity". That means, the development extent of tourism shall not make locals feel repulsive, affect their identity recognition and hinder them from using public service or facilities.

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