Hong Kong Today

Tourism suffering from "internal injuries", don't cause further harm

This Labour Day holiday, the tourist trade was expected to continue with its downtrend but on the first day (Saturday), the number of mainland visitors increased by 14 per cent over last year, which was a bit unexpected. People in the industry said it had to do with the recent rise in the Japanese yen, shortening of the mainland's holiday, lowering of local hotel rates, etc. Seeing a light in the darkness is always a good thing but there seems to be no change in the overall downtrend. Moreover, the threat of localist groups' "anti-locust" move remains very much alive. The situation is hardly optimistic optimistic (adj) 	樂觀的 .

The downtrend in mainland visitors started as early as last year. It accelerated sharply this year. The number plunged by 15 per cent in the first quarter. For tour groups, Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong chairman Jason Wong Chun-tat pointed out that since January, the number has fallen sharply by 40 to 50 per cent. According to insiders, the number of mainland tour groups dropped sharply starting from last November. Then, there were still around 9,000 groups per month but there were only about 10,000 in the first quarter this year. The fall was quite " alarming alarming (adj)	使人驚慌的 ".

Attacks cause even greater harm

Businesses are in the doldrums doldrums (n)	消沉 . Industries in the past mainly depended on mainland tourists, including retail, catering and hospitality, went downhill with fewer visitors. Some operators had to close down their branches and lay off staff to deal with the downtrend that was gathering momentum. Even the two theme parks of great tourist attraction, the Disneyland and Ocean Park, had come under pressure of reduced visitors.

The decline in Hong Kong's tourism naturally has to do with economic fluctuations in the mainland and around the world, as well as the stagnant stagnant (adj)	停滯的 local tourism infrastructure construction. But the resulting negative effect of localists' attacks on mainland visitors as well as the continuous spread of messages about hostility hostility (n)	敵意 towards them through the two places' media in recent years is much greater than that of economic factors.

Though the anti-parallel goods trade organization that launched a march in Sheung Shui yesterday said it was targeting only parallel goods traders and not mainland visitors, some radical localists had mobilized their members online, waiting to join the action; while the Civic Passion that once led the "anti-locust" drive grabbed the opportunity to take action, fishing in troubled waters focusing on mainlanders and those shops serving them. Riots could break out any moment.

To prevent a repeat of "suitcase kicking", the police stood by on guard. The atmosphere was tense. Luckily, the organizer cancelled the event before it started expressing worries over participation of trouble-makers. It helped prevent another impact on tourism. Although the march did not happen, the localists and Civic Passion were not willing to stop. They stirred up trouble in the crowd.

"Anti-locust" groups lurking, early prevention needed

It can be seen that localists and radical groups are still strongly inclined inclined (adj)	有傾向的 towards attacking mainland tourists, while the recent "independence" and "self-determination" thoughts have become the ideological basis ideological basis	意識形態基礎 and drive behind their action. As soon as an opportunity arises, they will kick off a new wave of "anti-locust" movement.

On this, the police must be highly on guard as a precaution because after repeated impacts, the tourist trade is already suffering "internal injuries". If there are again riots against mainlanders, it will add to the injury. Recovery will then be even more difficult. To cite Li Ka-shing's comparison, "for our tourism amid a raging storm, no further harm should be done to it."

What is worrying is that the Legco election will be held in September. The localists and radicals are prepared to fight for a seat. To increase their political capital political capital	政治本錢 , they will strut their stuff whenever there is a chance in the coming months, and put up a big show. Several recent intense attacks had to do with this.

So, they may find an excuse for a repeat of their "anti-locust" move, to trigger a sentiment sentiment (n) 情緒 against mainlanders.

Protecting tourism means protecting the economy. The authorities must take vigorous precaution while society has to be outspoken in deterring any move that undermines tourism.


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