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Tourism, a natural miscellany of mishaps

By Philip J. Cunningham | China Daily | Updated: 2015-02-26 07:26

When I worked as a tour guide in the early 1980s, the standard China tour started in Hong Kong and ended in Beijing. Hong Kong, which was a bustling British colony at the time, was the starting point for much-coveted visits to the mainland that was just beginning to open to the outside world.

In those days, the bulk of tourists were from the United States and Europe; there were few Asians on the road other than Japan tours and individual travelers from Hong Kong. For those of us keen on seeing the "real" China and traveling far and wide, Hong Kong travelers were to be envied.

With their huixiangzheng, or "Home Return Permit" they could travel without a passport or visa and use a wider range of facilities and eateries than were available to foreign visitors. The inexpensive renminbi economy was beyond the grasp of most tourists, though resourceful foreign students often found ways to get around this.

Tourism, a natural miscellany of mishaps

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