The Economic Development Commission says the number of Hong Kong hotel rooms will have to double in the next decade to cope with an expected surge in visitors.
The government-appointed body said the the completion of large infrastructure projects linking Hong Kong with the mainland, and the possible expansion of China’s individual visitor scheme, would greatly increase the number of people coming to the city.
Good grief. As if we don’t already have enough mainlanders romping about in Hong Kong.
Sure, we can build more hotels. But what about our already overcrowded railways and roads? What about the fact that for every new watch store and jewellery store that opens, some other store has to close? What about grassroots Hong Kongers, who are seeing commodity prices being jacked up by virtually unlimited Chinese demand?
Encouraging more mainland tourists will only cause more of this:
Even with careful planning (which the government is not known for its capabilities therein), Hong Kong’s capacity to accept extra tourists is limited. On the other hand, China’s demand for non-Chinese products is virtually unlimited, as the Chinese do not trust their own products. The Chinese government, instead of fixing things, merely slaps import taxes on just about everything, encouraging rampant smuggling (euphemistically called “parallel trading”) across the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border.
With the ridiculous proportion of our economy dedicated to retail and related industries, young Hong Kongers seeking to get a job in the city someday will be forced to learn Mandarin, putting pressure on Cantonese as the local language. This is not even a problem endemic to Hong Kong. A teenager all the way in Cambridge, England was refused a job at The Body Shop for not knowing Mandarin.
Churchman dropped her resume off at the local store when a manager told her speaking Chinese was required because, “all our customers are Chinese students.” She later voiced her disappointment: “I never thought I would have to learn Mandarin to get a job selling beauty products in England.”
Churchman’s father even took a stab at the British government. “It’s ridiculous. It’s another example of Britain bending over backwards to accommodate everyone else.”
As a postgraduate student in Hong Kong, I am quite used to feeling like a stranger in my own home, with the majority of postgrads in the city from up north. The rest of Hong Kong better watch out if it does not want the same to happen to them. There are already many stories of Hong Kongers selling out and giving mainlanders preferential treatment over their own.
Call Hong Kongers xenophobic if you want, but it’s hard not to be when your neighbour is so huge and so menacing.
- Don’t build it, and they won’t come (biglychee.com)