Hong Kong: Shopper’s Paradise or Shopping Nightmare?

Daily Feature

A Global Travel Intentions Survey undertaken by Visa shows a strong interdependency among the four regions that comprise Greater China: the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

This symbiotic relationship holds for both business and leisure travelers.

On average, Hong Kong travelers made on average 4.4 trips to Mainland China over the past two years, 2.4 trips to Macau, and 1.6 trips to Taiwan. Mainland Chinese visitors made an average of 2.3 trips to Hong Kong, while Taiwanese travelers visited Hong Kong 1.5 times. The number one reason for repeat visits to Hong Kong from both groups was the former British Crown Colony’s reputation as a great place to shop.

No Load Tours

This flies in the face of all that negative press regarding “no load” or “low load” packaged tours to Hong Kong, whose tour guides pack mainland tourists off to out of the way shopping malls that sell shoddy goods at high prices. If travelers don’t buy enough for them to earn their commissions, they often berate them, and things can get pretty heated.

One tour guide famously yelled at some mainland tourists, “Please don’t tell me that you don’t need this jewelry!!!”

Problem is, the price of these tours is often not even enough to cover the cost of transport, accommodation, or food – not to mention salaries – so the agents depend on commissions to cover these costs.

Needless to say, tour guides can get a bit testy if their visitors don’t buy as much as they think they should. Both insults and fists have flown. Guides have even been known to simply abandon their charges halfway through a tour, leaving them without food, accommodation, or transport home.


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