Lawmakers have said that Kowloon West residents are angry about an influx of tourists into residential areas such as To Kwa Wan and Hung Hom.
At a regular Q&A session at the legislature with Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Wednesday, lawmaker Rebecca Chan said the Travel Industry Council had suggested diverting tourists to Hung Hom: “This will not help To Kwa Wan, and will just affect another residential area. Residents are very angry. The anger is at a bursting point.”
Residents have complained about the large number of tourists boarding boats for Victoria Harbour tours at the Kowloon City Ferry Pier.
Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong said the Travel Industry Council’s plan to divert tourists to the Hung Hom South Ferry Pier was not feasible.
“We are talking about 5,000 to 6,000 people going to Hung Hom per day,” she said. “No-one would question that the tourism sector has to develop, but it is out of control now.”
She said Hong Kong was unable to withstand the 65 million trips made by tourists to the city last year, and many residents had signed a petition opposing the Hung Hom plan.
Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong lawmaker Priscilla Leung said the plan to divert tourists was made without consulting the area’s residents and district councillors.
Leung said residents have suggested diverting tourists to the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal instead.
“There is a lot of room there. It would just take several million to reorganise the terminal. [The problem is that] there is no consensus on who will pay for that,” she said.
Lam said the government will consider the suggestion.
She said the tourism sector was an important one in Hong Kong and that, although it contributed less than five per cent to the city’s GDP, it has created over 300,000 jobs.
“But Hong Kong has limited capacity. Let me go back to the land issue again – we have great difficulty in increasing tourist spots outside of the existing ones,” she said.
She said the government will continue to try and divert tourists to other areas.
“When the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge opened, there was overcrowding in Tung Chung. After some hard work, we have eased the phenomenon,” she said.
She also said the government can improve its consultation with local residents.