Hk protest cause slump in Tourism


(Shanghai Daily) The number of tour groups visiting Hong Kong from Chinese mainland plunged by about 80 percent in early March as rising anti-mainland sentiment and a series of protests deterred people from crossing the border.

Tensions have escalated in recent weeks, with some locals accusing mainland visitors of crowding public transport and buying up everything from infant milk formula to diapers.

Protesters have confronted visitors in shopping malls close to the border, complaining that they are pushing up prices, blocking roads and generally being “a nuisance.”
“We used to handle 400 to 500 tours a day, but now it’s only 100,” said Paul Leung, chairman of The Hong Kong Inbound Travel Association.

The slowdown started at the end of February, he said.

More than 40 million mainlanders visited Hong Kong last year, far outstripping the local population of 7.2 million. They stream across the border daily to shop, eat and sightsee, though many have been harassed in recent weeks.

The Hong Kong protesters have yelled at the mainland tourists to go home, triggering clashes that have forced police to use pepper spray and some shops to close.

Mainland visitors expressed shock, saying Hong Kong people are rude and pledged to take their money elsewhere.

Some big spending tourists are also avoiding the city following last year’s Occupy Central protests.

The city government and powerful tycoons have warned against a repeat of the protests, saying they
could hurt the city’s economic stability.




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