China / HK Macao Taiwan

HK seeks fewer mainland visitors

By SU ZHOU (China Daily) Updated: 2015-02-25 07:36

HK seeks fewer mainland visitors

Visiting mainland Chinese families rest under an advertisement board at a shopping district in Hong Kong February 23, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

Chief executive says region can't handle load, while others say tight controls would be divisive

While the number of Chinese mainland visitors to Hong Kong fell for the first time in 20 years over the Spring Festival holiday, the government in the special administrative region wants to cut it back even further.

Speaking before the start of an Executive Council meeting on Tuesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the individual visit program involving 49 mainland cities should not be expanded but tightened up.

"I have been advising the central government not to expand the scheme, as Hong Kong's capacity to receive tourists is limited," Leung said, adding that the subject will be discussed in the coming "two sessions".

The drop, though a slight 0.3 percent over the first three days of the festival, is the first holiday decrease in about two decades, according to Reuters, quoting an industry group.

The Chinese mainland leads the world in outbound tourism, with more than 100 million people traveling overseas in 2014. Of those, 40 million visited Hong Kong.

Ip Kwok-him, a delegate to the National People's Congress from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the number of visitors to Hong Kong has grown fast, which has aided the development of tourism and retail industries and created job opportunities, thanks to the multi-entry permit under the current individual travel scheme.

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