Last year’s street protests in Hong Kong appear to have had an impact on the number of mainland Chinese visitors to the city.
Channel NewsAsia reports that total mainland Chinese visits to Hong Kong during this month’s Lunar New Year holiday period fell for the first time in about 20 years. The decline of 0.3% over the first three days of the holiday was small, but could be representative of a wider trend.
Mainland China contributed 47.3 million of Hong Kong’s 60.4m arrivals in 2014, and the city is coming under pressure to limit the number of Chinese visitors.
Hong Kong’s chief executive, CY Leung, said he would raise the issue with Beijing at a meeting next month.
“If we have to restrict or decrease the numbers of mainland Chinese coming to Hong Kong then we must continue to discuss this with [China],” Leung was quoted saying.
As well as the pro-democracy demonstrations, Hong Kong has also experience anti-mainland protests in shopping malls – a trend that Joseph Tung, executive director of Hong Kong’s Travel Industry Council, called “alarming”.
“Put yourself in their shoes. If you feel as though people are not welcoming you, why would you come to Hong Kong?” Tung asked.
Hong Kong’s visitor arrivals figures for the month of January 2015 or the Lunar New Year period have not yet been released.