Tourist surge in Tsim Sha Tsui during the extended holiday, restaurants thriving while pharmacies struggle

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1st October 2023 – (Hong Kong) Mainland Chinese tourists have flocked to Hong Kong’s tourist areas during the Golden Week holiday, creating a lively atmosphere once again. Tsim Sha Tsui, in particular, has been bustling with mainland visitors, with both luxury shops and restaurants experiencing a steady flow of customers. While the local eateries have been thriving, with some roast meat establishments working tirelessly to keep up with the demand, the same cannot be said for the pharmacies, which have seen a decline in business due to mainland tourists’ preference for online shopping.

Tsim Sha Tsui has been packed with people throughout the day, especially on the streets lined with renowned shops, Harbour City, and Nathan Road. Some visitors can be seen strolling around with their luggage, and there has been a significant increase in foot traffic in stores selling luxury goods, jewellery, and watches. Nearby restaurants have also been bustling with activity. A restaurant manager stated that their staff has been continuously working non-stop since opening, and the sheer number of tourists has made it difficult for locals to find seating. The restaurant has been too busy to handle takeout orders as well. When placing their orders, tourists are not holding back, often opting for the classic roast duck, roast goose, and various side dishes. The average spending per person exceeds HK$100, and the manager describes the business as better than pre-pandemic times. The recent influx of mainland tourists has been a boon for Chiu Kee Roast Meat, with their roast meat selling out around 8.30pm every night, prompting them to close early.

However, the situation is different for pharmacies, as they have not experienced the same level of prosperity. Journalists visited over ten pharmacies and drugstores and found that only a few of them had a significant number of customers, while most were relatively quiet. Mr. Yip, the manager of a pharmacy, observed that although there has been an obvious increase in foot traffic, mainland tourists have adapted to online shopping due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Items such as health supplements, which were popular among tourists in the past, are now being purchased less frequently. Mainland visitors mainly come to Hong Kong to buy products like Double Pigeon Oil and Wong To Yick Wood Lock Oil, which are exclusively available in the city. Moreover, the opening of more than 30 drugstores in recent months has intensified competition, and some tourists have become wary of the questionable marketing tactics employed by certain pharmacies, making it challenging to conduct business.

Timothy Chui Ting-pong, the executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Association, acknowledged that the bustling scene in Tsim Sha Tsui was expected. Mainland Chinese tourists take advantage of the long holiday to travel south, while local residents stay in Hong Kong due to their limited remaining vacation days. Additionally, the fireworks show has attracted crowds, further contributing to the festive atmosphere and stimulating consumption, ultimately boosting the economy.