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Give each Hongkonger HK$10,000 for enduring mainland tourist crowds

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Tourism success, as far as Hong Kong’s government is concerned, is about the number of visitors and how much they spend. That taps into job creation and taxes – bottom lines for any city management. But too often, the hunger for an ever-bigger slice of the tourism pie has meant paying little or no attention to the rights of residents and damage to the environment. It’s about time there was payback through an annual cash handout and better planning.

For a start, let’s get the terminology right: most of the people who visit our city are shoppers, not tourists. A good 80 per cent of the almost 61 million estimated to have come to Hong Kong this year were from the mainland and the majority were day trippers. They come on group tours for which they pay little and their guides, with an eye on earning percentages from what gets sold, steer them to specific shops and restaurants. Tourist spots are not on their minds, which is why numbers at our theme parks and other attractions are not rising.

The tourists visiting Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai for just 50 yuan each

At the grass-roots level, on shopping streets and in residential areas and run-down districts, matters are different, though. Jewelry and........

© South China Morning Post