16th June, 2014
John Tsang: HK Does Not Rely on Chinese Tourists
Individual Visit Scheme has long been under the spotlight in Hong Kong. John Tsang Chun-wah commented in his blog post on 15/June that the recent opinions about Hong Kong’s economy has been heavily relying on Chinese tourists via Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) over the past ten years is an overstatement. Tsang cited statistics that Chinese tourists’ economic contribution to Hong Kong’s economy account for only 3.9% of Hong Kong’s GDP, which highlights that Hong Kong’s economy does not depend on Chinese tourists.
Tsang also said in his official blog post that there are always pos and cons in every policy, the difference is the weight of them. He said that the public has different opinion on the IVS is perfectly normal: some think that Hong Kong’s economy has been relying on IVS too heavily in the past ten years, whilst some say that Hong Kong should reduce its reliance on IVS.
However, Tsang does not think that Hong Kong’s economy relies on IVS. In his official blog post, Tsang said that on average IVS tourists contributed US$10.3 billion to Hong Kong’s economy every year, which account to around 3.9% of the local GDP – including hotel, F&B, transportation and retail sectors. He described that the combined contribution by IVS tourists is “definitely below this level”. He also said that whether or not this number is significant is subject to individual opinion, but it certainly isn’t a reliance.
Comparative speaking, Tsang said that tourism and other relevant industries contributed 220,000 jobs to the society, accounts for 6% of the population’s employment rate and are jobs mostly for the low-skill labour. He stressed that Hong Kong’s economy has never been relying on China’s and vice versa, but a relationship between the two that maximise and utilise each other’s economic status. He described this relationship as something that has been long established since the British Hong Kong time, and future collaboration between Hong Kong and China will continue to grow.