Mainland’s budget tour groups cause disturbance in To Kwa Wan and Hung Hom, overwhelming the old districts

Picture credit : Doreen Kong

24th March 2023 – (Hong Kong) The tourism industry in Hong Kong has plummeted to its lowest point in three years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the recent opening of the border between Hong Kong and mainland China, the Hong Kong government has launched the “Hello Hong Kong!” campaign in the hope of attracting investment and tourists. However, low-quality, budget tour groups from the Mainland have resurfaced, causing problems such as competing with locals for food and selling counterfeit drugs under the guise of souvenirs. These tour groups have also overwhelmed old districts such as To Kwa Wan and Hung Hom, leading to concerns about the disturbance to residents. Some legislators have criticised the government’s efforts, calling for action to be taken to solve the problem.

Legislative Councillor Kitson Yang has received complaints from residents about the resurgence of low-quality tour groups in To Kwa Wan, which not only visit local restaurants but also invade markets and sell counterfeit drugs, damaging Hong Kong’s image. The large number of tour buses in the area has caused traffic congestion, making it difficult for residents to move around. Yeung has urged the government to address the issue at the top level, with the Tourism Board coordinating efforts to solve the problem. He also called for the Tourism Industry Council to strengthen law enforcement and regulate tour groups to avoid overwhelming local areas and restaurants.

Furthermore, some Mainland tourists have been forced to shop in non-tourist areas such as To Kwa Wan and Hung Hom, leading to concerns about their safety and causing disturbances to residents. Legislative Councillor Doreen Kong has received requests from residents to strengthen law enforcement and regulate tour groups to prevent further damage to Hong Kong’s image.

Meanwhile, a restaurant located in To Kwa Wan that specialises in serving mainland Chinese tour groups has been doing extremely well since its reopening. Within just two weeks of resuming operations, it has already received over 30,000 visitors from mainland China, and is expected to earn around HKD 2 million per month. In the early stages of reopening, the restaurant even had a strong police presence to maintain order.In just over two hours, at least 60 tour buses arrived, with each bus carrying 40 people. This means that over 2,000 Mainland Chinese tourists were brought to the restaurant during the lunchtime period.

Mainland tourists were standing near a 2-dish rice stall to eat their takeaway food.