Hong Kong residents may cheer news that mainland tourists are starting to avoid the city, but retail outlets in the territory might not be so pleased.
Mainland Chinese group tours to Hong Kong experienced a year-on-year drop of almost 32 percent last month, and the start to March has been even worse. During the first couple of weeks of the month, group tours fell to 170 per day, a drop of about 60 percent with a usual average of 400 groups per day.
Yao Sirong, who represents the tourism industry in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council, said Hong Kong tourism has entered a “dark season” with the hotel industry witnessing a 20 to 30 percent drop in occupancy rates. Yao blames the recent anti-mainlander protests for the decline. Several Hong Kong groups have protested parallel traders in shopping areas in recent weeks, with some chanting “go back to China” to mainland shoppers.
Hong Kong residents have long complained about mainland Chinese visitors that have overloaded the city’s services, including healthcare, shopping, and transportation.
With Chief Executive CY Leung looking for a political solution to cut down on the number of mainland Chinese travelers, Hong Kong has enacted a number of laws to ease the pressure. There are now restrictions on mainland women giving birth in Hong Kong, the number of tins of baby formula that can be taken back to the mainland, and on property purchases.