Friday, February 21, 2014

Putting Tourism into Proportion

A hysterical (in both senses) article in Beijing mouthpiece The Global Times castigating Hong Kong for selfishness in not wanting to be flooded with ever more mainland tourists asks:

"Chinese tourists bring their bad habits of shouting, noise level, shopping in crowd and in bulk to Paris, London and New York. Only Hong Kongers react to these problems more violently than the 'foreign devils/ghosts'. Why is Hong Kongers' tolerance level so low? Shouldn't they have thought about their inability to tolerate and embrace (Chinese tourists)?"
[Translation by the invaluable (to non-Chinese readers) Real Hong Kong News – apparently from a longer Chinese version.]
The answer to this question is easily illustrated:

In simple terms, tiny Hong Kong had a ratio of approximately 3.4 visitors per resident in 2012 (most of them from the mainland), compared with 0.8, 1.6 and 0.6 visitors respectively for the much larger Paris, London and New York metropolitan areas.  Is it any surprise that we feel like we’re being crowded out of our own city?
[Sources: Population figures taken from Wikipedia.  Tourist numbers from here - the latest complete comparative figures I could find, though other sources differ – things have already become much worse in Hong Kong since then.)]

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