HK tourism chief vows to work with travel sector to tackle ‘poor quality’ tours

HK tourism chief vows to work with travel sector to tackle ‘poor quality’ tours

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Hong Kong tourism minister has pledged to work with the industry to implement stricter controls to tackle poor quality travel groups, amid complaints regarding noise and hygiene issues brought by Chinese tour groups.

This comes as pictures of a mainland tour group eating cup noodles on the streets of Repulse Bay are being shared and discussed on local forum LIHKG, a check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE saw. A group of Chinese travellers were seen to be gathering outside the Repulse Bay public toilet to enjoy cup noodles, while some were standing on the streets, some were sitting beside the planter.

Lawmakers such as Yang Wing Kit expressed concerns during a Legislative Council panel on 27 March that the Mainland tourists visiting To Kwa Wan and Hung Hom had to wait outside the restaurant to be seated. The restaurant charged HK$40 per person and they were required to finish their meal within 15 minutes. He said this was not a good experience for mainland tourists, and the long queues on streets would also affect residents nearby.

Yang urged the government to tackle the problem, and proposed to set limits for number of shopping and sightseeing spots visited by tour groups, increase the minimum consumption per meal, as well as disperse restaurants to ease people's flow.

In response, secretary for culture, sports and tourism Kevin Yeung said: “Hong Kong is densely populated. If tourists are overcrowding certain districts not just To Kwa Wan and Hung Hom, it will bring inconvenience to residents. We want to offer a premium experience to tourists, but we don’t want to see local residents to be affected too much at the same time."

Yeung also said that there are possible solutions, such as setting limits on the number of tour groups in certain places, encouraging more diverse itineraries and scheduling groups to arrive at different times. Meanwhile, he added that the industry has practical considerations for limiting the number of attractions and meal prices.

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On the other hand, the Tourism Industry Authority stated that there are currently five registered stores that accept inbound tour groups from the Mainland in the district. The Tourism Administration also pointed out that it will consider corresponding measures such as stopping the application for new registered stores in response to the latest flow of people in the same area.

Photo courtesy: LIHKG

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