Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Already at Capacity

Macau was already full during Lunar New Year, and Hong Kong close behind
Over the Chinese New Year holiday Hong Kong had a deluge of mainland tourists, but Macau was completely flooded -- so much so that some areas were at a complete standstill.

There were about 2.7 million people, mostly mainlanders, who crossed check points at Gongbei Port and Zhuhai over the week-long holiday -- more than five times the city's population of over 550,000.

On Sunday alone there were 200,000 mainlanders who came to Macau. If you didn't get a ticket a day or two in advance, you had to get in the queue early just to get a decent ferry time. For example you were in the queue at 11am, the earliest you could leave Hong Kong was after 2pm, and from Macau you had to wait at 11am to get the 11pm ticket.

At the Ruins of St Paul's, tourists were shoulder to shoulder and police had to set up one-way pedestrian systems to ensure the ongoing flow of people.

"What is normally a five-minute walk has become 15 minutes if not longer, " said June Chan Yun-wai, who wanted to go to the pharmacy when she was stuck in the crowd at Largo de Senado, the square in the centre of Macau.

Newspaper vendor Ben lai Hou-kei who has had a stall near the square for four decades said it was more crowded than last year. "There was little planning by the government," he said. "And the ruthless pace of mainlanders conflicts with the local way of life."

In both Hong Kong and Macau both governments have not done any proper long-term infrastructure planning to handle greater capacities in terms of tourists.

People still fuming at Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung's projection that there could be up to 70 million visitors in the next three years, up to 100 million within a decade in Hong Kong.

He even said, "There will be an impact on citizens... they may not be able to get on the MTR and need to wait for the next train."

So obviously has not seen for himself how packed it is in the MTR these days during rush hour in particular.

Some NeoDemocrats, Gary Fan Kwok-wai and Roy Tam Hoi-bong were in Mongkok holding up banners saying "Reduce the solo travellers scheme" because they felt the city has reached its capacity.

But if you go to major cities like Beijing and Shanghai, their rush hours are nightmares compared to Hong Kong's and Macau's so they hardly think it's at capacity. Besides it's none of their business -- they just want to fulfill their shopping lists for luxury handbags and milk powder because buying real things is a more pressing issue to them than crowded spaces...


  1. I don't even go out on a holiday in Hong Kong, there are just too many long lines and rude people out-and-about. Wait until everything dies down and then celebrate.

    1. Hi Kconan -- Thanks for your comment! So have you started your belated New Year celebrations now that most of the mainlanders have left?