Most HKers think mainland visitors too many to handle: poll

March 05, 2019 17:11
A scene at a bus stop outside the MTR Tung Chung Station. Many Hongkongers feel the influx of mainland visitors has had a huge impact on their daily lives, particularly with regard to public transport and facilities. Photo: HKEJ

About six in 10 Hongkongers believe the city has no more capacity to receive the growing number of mainland visitors to the city, a survey showed.

By comparison, only 13.5 percent of the poll respondents said Hong Kong still has the capacity to receive mainlanders traveling to the city under the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS). 

The survey, conducted last month by the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, found that more than half of the respondents believed the IVS visitors brought inconvenience to their daily lives, although 45.7 percent said they did not experience inconvenience, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Since the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge on Oct. 24 last year, many residents, especially those in Tung Chung and other areas in northeastern New Territories, were upset by the influx of mainland tourists because of their impact on public transport and facilities.

The poll, based on phone interviews with 709 Hong Kong residents aged 18 or above, also found that nearly 60 percent of the respondents agreed that the IVS could enhance local consumption, a major contributor to the city's economic performance, while only 13.1 percent disagreed.

The visitor scheme will also boost local employment, according to 42.3 percent of the respondents, while 20.5 percent did not think so.

Asked about the impact of IVS on Hong Kong, 33 percent of the respondents believed the IVS is beneficial, 32.4 percent considered it deterimental, while the rest, 29.2 percent, had mixed feelings about it.

The survey, whose results were released on Monday, showed that 45.4 percent of the respondents preferred no change in the scope of IVS, which was introduced in July 2003 to boost the tourism industry following the SARS outbreak.

On the other hand, 43.3 percent wanted the scope of the policy to be reduced. Only 8.1 percent said its scope should be expanded.

While 17.8 percent said their impression of mainland visitors has turned better since the IVS was implemented, 35.4 percent said just the opposite, according to the survey.

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