Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said parallel traders are hurting Hong Kong’s tourism industry while speaking to reporters in Beijing on Thursday, after similar comments made by New World Development chairman Henry Cheng Kar-shun earlier in the day.
Leung, who was on a two-day trip to Beijing to attend the WWII victory day military parade, voiced his concerns about the decline of the SAR’s tourism industry on Thursday after meeting with Hong Kong & Macau Affairs Director Wang Guangya the day before.
He stressed that the development of the economy is a prerequisite to improving the livelihood of people and warned that a recession of the tourism industry would affect the retail, transportation as well as food and beverage sectors.
Leung quoted Wang as saying that mainland visitors’ feelings have been hurt by protests against parallel traders. He also said that the Chinese Central Government will continue to support Hong Kong’s economic development and that there are remedial measures to be taken.
“There are some things that the Chinese Central Government won’t be able to help with, and Hongkongers themselves need to demonstrate to visitors from around the world that Hong Kong is a hospitable destination,” he said.
Earlier this week, Leung also expressed disappointment at the decline in tourist numbers and condemned behaviour that tarnished the hospitable image of Hong Kong.
Henry Cheng Kar-shun expressed similar sentiments on Thursday, saying that the decline in Hong Kong tourism was due to a number of factors including the mainland’s economy—but also because of anti-tourism behaviour. He also said that Hongkongers cannot control mainland factors, but they can only do their part, such as not to engage in behaviour that will repel tourists.
Cheng also responded to the the halt in plans to revitalise the Tsim Sha Tsui promenade, which were originally to be carried out by New World Development this year but have been put on hold. He said that the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui is old and lacks international appeal, and that he was baffled by the decision to stall the plans. However, he added that he was not worried that the project would be snatched up by other developers, since there is no profit involved.