Hong Kong quota for mainland tourists is selfish

Source:Global Times Published: 2014-2-20 23:18:01

Michael Tien Puk-sun, a National People's Congress deputy from Hong Kong and deputy chairman of the Hong Kong-based New People's Party, said recently that he would submit a proposal to the central government, suggesting a limit on the growing number of individual Chinese mainland tourists to the city. The growth would be set at three to five percent each year.

The huge influx of mainland tourists into Hong Kong has triggered aversion among some Hongkongers. In such circumstances, a limit on the number of tourists sounds reasonable. But it is a lopsided plan that only targets the maximization of Hong Kong's interests at the huge cost of the administrative resources of the mainland. It will make mainlanders feel offended and such a proposal will not address the problem properly.

The individual visit scheme could be seen as a gift from the central government to help revive Hong Kong's slumping economy. The past 10 years witnessed the scheme taking real effect and reinvigorating Hong Kong's employment and economy, which now show a large dependence on mainland tourists.

The number of mainland tourists must be managed within the framework of the market instead of any biased administrative orders. Hong Kong boasts that it is a free seaport, which means it cannot employ a double standard for mainland tourists.

The Hong Kong public needs to readjust its attitude toward the growing number of individual tourists from the mainland. Hongkongers cannot only pick benefits and shirk responsibilities.

It is understandable that over a period of time, a few Hong Kong citizens are uncomfortable with the influx of so many tourists. Nevertheless, the discomfort can never be the reason that Hong Kong should be given superiority within the larger Chinese community.

As for Hong Kong tourism, more mainland tourists will help it gain more profits, and many other industries in Hong Kong are closely connected to tourism. Those narrow-minded Hongkongers had better give up treating mainland tourists as a cash cow. Hong Kong, as a tourist city, is far from irreplaceable to mainland tourists.

What Hong Kong needs to do is to come up with a balanced way to deal with the existing problems, and ask for the cooperation of the mainland community. Hong Kong must realize that tourism is growing to be the lifeline of this city.

It has to learn how to reinforce its endurance and patience when problems emerge, or it will hand over more profits to its competitors such as Singapore, Thailand and South Korea.

Posted in: Observer

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