Tourism in Hong Kong

Transition of tourism in Hong Kong before and after 1997

"Hong Kong" this name is familiar to everyone in the world. This little city has two different cultures. In 1980's and 90's, Hong Kong is a Global Financial Center. At that time, this city only relies on import goods and banking. It doesn't have world-class sightseeing spots. It could only claim to be a "shopping paradise" or "food paradise." Tourism at that time was not popular.

"1997" is a special number for everyone in Hong Kong. After this transition, Hong Kong changed from a British Colony and becomes to a part of China. This transition changed the tourism industry a lot. Hong Kong has become a major urban tourism destination in South-East Asia. Many infrastructures were built after this transition. Disneyland, natural parks and different hotels were built in after 1997. At that time, tourism becomes an important role of Hong Kong.

In this research paper, I will focus on the tourism development in Hong Kong before and after 1997. There are three different time periods to analyze the whole tourism market in Hong Kong. The first period is the under British rule (1950's to 90's). The second period is the transition after returning to china (1997 to 2003) and the last one is the prosperity of Hong Kong (2004 to now). I will analyze the different aspects from these time frames. In addition, I will focus how successful Hong Kong government has been. Moreover, I want to illustrate how that was achieved and how Hong Kong can be sustained.

Long time ago, Hong Kong is only a small fishing community. It is located in the South East China and surrounded by the South China Sea and Pearl River Delta. This little city is made up with so many islands. As Hong Kong's landscape is hilly with steep slopes, it was a paradise for pirates and opium smugglers. In the Qing Dynasty, Guangzhou is the only one trading port in the world. At the same time, Hong Kong is only place near to Guangzhou. Also, it has a natural harbor. That's why it attracted the British to colonize Hong Kong.

For hundred of years, many Europeans started to trade for tea, silk and porcelain to China. At that time, China was proud of their economy. They thought they were the best in the whole world. That's why they imposed strict regulations on trade in order to protect Chinese culture from being destroyed by foreigners. In 1757, "Cohong" was established. It was the Chinese import-export monopoly. The merchants were authorized by the Chinese Central Government to handle trade. The rules are so serious. They restricted the European traders' visits to China. Europeans were illegal to learn Chinese language or to deal with anyone except the merchants in the Cohong. They only let them to come in for trading Season. That is from Nov to May.

Opium Addiction

Due to the stubbornness of Chinese people, they made a big mistake in the future. In 1820, British discovered that opium was profitable for trading. They supply of the drugs from the poppy field of India. This is a big business for British. They started to import opium to China. At that time, Chinese people were addicted by this drug. Many people sold all possession to buy opium. In addition, it affected the health of the Chinese people. Many people were killed by these powerful drugs. "Cohong" was corrupted by British and other foreigners. Many Cohong merchants allowed the opium came to China. From the 1820s onward, British trade with China was in surplus. China used a lot of silver to buy opium. Due to the effect of opium, the economy of China declined. That's why British were considering opium as important economic development.

As more and more addicts were created, it alarmed the Qing government about how serious situation they had. They designated Lin ZeXu as an Imperial Commissioner to deal with the opium problem with British immediately. He was a famous anti-opium hero in this war. At that time, Lin ZeXu gave strict orders to Britain's merchants and Chinese's merchants. He confiscated all stock of drug in China. Lin confiscated over 21,000 cases of opium.

On March 25, 1839, Commissioner Lin punished the opium smuggler by destroying all the opium. First, he ordered the suspension of western merchants, who lived in a foreigner village in Canton. Then Lin's ordered the troops to build some barricades across the street and the harbor. After all the merchants came to the harbor, Lin ordered the troop to push all opium into the water and put the fire on. This fire burned for 5 days. At the same time, Lin wanted the entire foreigners to sign the agreements. It was about the rule of forbidden to trade the drugs in China. The western merchants were so surprise for Lin's behaviors. He wrote a letter to Queen Victoria about the devilment of Britain's merchants. In a letter of Queen Victoria, Commissioner Lin said:

"... so long as you do not take it (opium) yourselves, but continue to make it and tempt the people of China to buy it, you will be showing yourselves careful of your own lives, but careless of the lives of other people, indifferent in your greed for gain to the harm you do to others: such conduct is repugnant to human feelings ..." (How China got rid of opium, 17)

From this letter, it showed that how angry did Lin had. He really felt so upset about the opium problems in China. He didn't think that this letter will become the direct cause of opium war. After Queen Victoria read this letter, she felt insulted about the behavior of Lin. She ordered the troops to attack China in Pearl River. This is a terrible war. British were won in this battle. From the article of "opium war", I knew that China didn't have the good weapon knowledge and technology. In addition, China was so weak in economy. They used all silver dollars to purchase the drugs. As British had great military technology and great navy in the world, China was lost.

On the 29th August, 1842, the British government forced Qing negotiator to sign an unequal treaty—Treaty of Nanjing and also two other treaties. There are six major clauses as following: (1) Hong Kong Island was ceded to the Britain for 99 years. (2) China needs to pay 21 million silver dollars for the confiscated opium and the cost of the war. (3) The ports of Canton, Amoy, Fuchu, Ningbo, and Shangri to be opened for British trade and residence. (4) All the prisoners of the war must be released immediately by Chinese government. (5) Britain can enjoy the most favored-nation status. (6) All the foreigners can achieve tariff autonomy.

Despite all this problems in Hong Kong, Hong Kong is starting to become prosperous.

The Exhibition Industry has already helped Hong Kong make a strong position in the international business pivot, as well as building up international customers and business network. In addition, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board`s research last year, around 780,000 oversea guests came to Hong Kong to join the International Exhibition Industry and the Exhibition Industry. It was an increase of 23% by 2005. Therefore, the Exhibition Industry is the most important to Hong Kong`s economy.

Chap lap Kok Airport to me is th most important of all.

It is a famous top class airport, famous for its efficient logistic flow, good service and ease to use for traveller. It has been voted the best airport in the world for many times. Ecnomically, this helps to reinforce Hong Kong as a logistic centre. linking the southern mainland with rest of hte world. A good airport well linked with transport to city also help to attract conferences, which will help hospitality industry.

The efficient and user friendly service also highlight the HONG KONG SPIRIT- always trying the best to provide top class service, always working fast to speed up process. This of course is important image to boost businness and tourism in HK!

Commissioner Lin: Letter to Queen Victoria, 1839


R.G. Tiedemann, 21

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