Hong Kong Urged to Improve Tourism Experience for Mainland Chinese Visitors

A veteran China watcher and academic, Lau Siu-kai, has called for Hong Kong officials to shift their focus from attracting high-quality tourists to creating a more welcoming environment for mainstream visitors from mainland China. This comes as a report from the Beijing-endorsed China Tourism Academy emphasized the importance of making mainland tourists feel at home in the city.

The report pointed out that negative public opinion and the anti-government protests in 2019 have contributed to fluctuations in the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong over the past decade. Lau highlighted that social divisions, grievances, and discrimination against mainland Chinese tourists have made them feel uncomfortable and unwelcome in the city, affecting their overall experience.

Lau stressed the need for a joint effort by the government and society to address these issues and ensure that mainland visitors, who may not be big spenders, feel valued and respected during their time in Hong Kong. The report also underscored the importance of tourism as a tool for cross-border exchanges, with a focus on enhancing visitor satisfaction.

While Hong Kong has traditionally targeted high-end tourists, recent shifts in consumer behavior and travel patterns call for a more inclusive approach to tourism development. Macau, for instance, has emerged as a top-rated destination for mainland visitor satisfaction, thanks to its diversified economy and investment in non-gambling activities.

Entertainment tycoon Allan Zeman highlighted the competitive edge that Macau has gained by focusing on alternative entertainment options and reinventing its tourism offerings. As Hong Kong looks to revitalize its tourism sector, experts suggest a more holistic approach that prioritizes visitor experience and cultural exchange, rather than just catering to high-spending clientele.