Hong Kong, May 4 (IANS) Hong Kong should focus on getting its citizens to behave well and rehabilitate the city’s tourist-friendly image if it wants to attract more Chinese mainland tourists, tourism experts said.
The suggestion was made after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced on Tuesday that the Hong Kong government has no plans to restore the multiple-entry individual visit scheme for people from the nearby city of Shenzhen, Guangdong province, the China Daily reported on Wednesday.
Evidence of the falling number of mainland tourists visiting Hong Kong came during the three-day “mini Golden Week” holiday from April 30 to May 2 when there was a 40 percent year-on-year drop in the number of mainland tour groups, according to the Hong Kong Inbound Travel Association.
Lam Chi-ting, general secretary of Hong Kong Tourism Industry Employees General Union, said he agreed that the time is not right to reinstate the multiple-entry permits for residents from Shenzhen, or to loosen rules so that residents of other mainland cities can visit Hong Kong more easily.
“The city still needs time to study its capacity before welcoming more mainlanders,” Lam said.
“Not to mention, Hong Kong people also need time to learn how to behave in a civil and friendly way toward mainland visitors.”
He made the comments after recent news stories reported isolated incidents in which mainland visitors had been criticized and made to feel uncomfortable in Hong Kong.
The city has enjoyed several bumper years for tourism, with mainland visitors delivering a shopping and travelling bonanza to the retail sector, said Song Ding, a senior analyst from the Tourism and Real Estate Industry Research Center of the China Development Institute, a think tank based in Shenzhen.
But in the wake of fewer mainland tourists visiting the city and a cooling economy, Hong Kong has been attempting to lure tourists from countries including Japan, South Korea and the USs.
China contributes between 3 and 4 million arrivals to Hong Kong each month, compared with 150,000 to 160,000 monthly arrivals from other major markets.