The economy is tourism, and tourism is the economy

Chief Executive John Lee gives an interview to Sing Tao on the economy, saying…

Hong Kong should develop its economy at full speed with the priority for now being on quantity in the belief that quality will inevitably follow.

What does this mean? Nothing – unless by ‘economy’ you mean ‘the tourism industry’, and you think cramming the city full of low-budget mass-market visitors will then lure more high-spending ones. Thus…

Lee said his administration would also try to attract internationally renowned performers and events to the new Kai Tak sports park to boost the economy.

Inevitably, NatSec gets a look-in…

… “[Passing Article 23] is a milestone. We can now focus on improving people’s livelihoods and Hong Kong will definitely be better,” he said.

Lee said the national security risks that Hong Kong is facing now mostly come from overseas as some countries may target China due to geopolitics, affecting us.

Those countries will also send spies to Hong Kong, he added, reminding the public to remain cautious and pledging to raise awareness of national security risks through patriotic education.

Asked how the administration will handle relations with Western countries, Lee said officials here are not interested in bringing up political controversies all the time and willing to visit different regions to promote Hong Kong.

“We only inform people of the actual situation here when we come under attack. At other times, we just hope more people will visit Hong Kong for investment, business or tourism,” he said.

Hong Kong is a place with a high degree of freedom and the government welcomes international economic or academic exchanges, Lee said, adding the administration would also invite foreign officials or elites to visit apart from hosting international conventions and events.

So on the one hand, foreigners are a hostile scary threat – but on the other hand, we want them to come here and like us.

Returning to the quantity vs quality thing…

“It’s similar to running a restaurant. We should attract customers to fill it first, or we won’t be able to pick the right customers. After it is full and people start to queue up, we can then consider which dishes are high value-added and if we should raise the minimal charges for the VIP rooms,” Lee said.

“Quantity coming first before quality is inevitable. We should not ‘exclude’ some business opportunities at first.”

I’ve never run a restaurant. I don’t think I would do it this way.

On the subject of odd analogies and metaphors, HKFP reports that the CE also likens attracting mega-events to how he used to chase girls. By which I can – sadly – only guess he means ‘with great difficulty’, as Hong Kong today struggles to arouse any interest among all those glamorous stars who prefer the cool kids like Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei, Jakarta, Singapore, Bangkok and pretty much anywhere but here. (Though I saw a poster for the 5,6,7,8s recently – the Japanese rockers must be grannies by now. Click on pic above.)

Allen Zeman recently said ‘not many chief executives can do better than John Lee’. How does the current CE compare with hereditary shipping tycoon Tung Chee-hwa or bureaucrat Donald Tsang, who thought that pushing property prices up artificially could restore economic vibrancy? Is an ex-cop who sees mass-tourism as the lifeline an improvement?

Historically, Hong Kong did well with governments that largely left the people and business alone rather than trying to micromanage everything. Obviously, those days are over. For example, the mega-event that is the Book Fair comes with NatSec reminders. And the School Inspectors are back, with have some very specific priorities…

At the Yan Chai Hospital Lim Por Yen Secondary School in Tsuen Wan, students were said to have “actively [taken] part in patriotic activities” such as paper cutting and sugar painting during a Chinese culture week.

According to the report, however, students sang the national anthem softly during flag-raising ceremonies. Teachers were recommended to: “give reminders and help students develop a habit of singing the national anthem loudly.”


Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Kap Yan Directors’ College in North district was advised to give students more guidance so they could cultivate a habit and confidence in singing the national anthem, although it did not say their voices were weak.

It is not the first time the bureau has taken issue with how students sing the national anthem.

An annual summary inspection report released in December also hit out at teachers and students for singing the national anthem together “a little soft”, although no specific schools were named.

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9 Responses to The economy is tourism, and tourism is the economy

  1. Mo Money says:

    Perhaps Lee also meant that he sees an economic future in businesses such as Taobao drop shipping, telemarketing, multi-level marketing, AI-produced Kindle books, and “pig butchering” call centres.

  2. Low Profile says:

    Equating volume with passion suggests that music criticism is not the school inspectors’ strong point. Perhaps they should stick to doing their job, which is monitoring educational standards.

  3. Denzel McGillicuddy says:

    Sanctions, sanctions, sanctions. It’s the only language they’ll understand.

  4. Joe Blow says:

    May I propose caning for both teachers and students for singing the national anthem “a little soft”. Don’t spare the rod.

  5. Chinese Netizen says:

    “…and you think cramming the city full of low-budget mass-market visitors will then lure more high-spending ones.”

    If HK hasn’t already reached, in all these years, that stage of attracting only the “high end” ones, then HK is truly fucked.

    That photo above of Droopy Dog trying to shit out a smile just sums him up so incredibly well.

  6. Torquemada says:

    Caritas Resurrection School, a special needs school for children with moderate intellectual disabilities, was said to be “lagging behind” in implementing national security education.

    Po Leung Kuk Law’s Foundation School, a school for children with severe intellectual disabilities in Yuen Long, only had a small number of subjects linked to national security, the bureau said.

    No-one is exempt from the HK Education Bureau NS inquisition.

  7. Mary Melville says:

    re; Quality will follow…… suggest CE takes a walk around Landmark/Prince’s Building where high end retailers are closing down at a remarkable rate.
    Of course Hongkong Land has trotted out the inevitable spin, but if the outlets were doing well they would not kill the goose.

  8. Papal Bull says:

    As grannies go, they’re polished rocker grannies.

    Re Nonceferatu’s ‘not many chief executives can do better than John Lee’
    It’s such a deliciously backhanded compliment:
    The use of the present tense ‘can do’ literally means that Nonceferatu reckons there are chief executives who would be better than Pikachu, despite not being in power anymore. Couple that with a cynical nod to the fact that there’s only been four other chief executives — so ‘not many’ and ‘all the other’ are interchangeable.
    Nonceferatu is openly saying ‘John Lee — Worst. CE. Ever!’, and selling it as a compliment with his ‘I can honestly say, I feel John has been one of the best’ follow up. After all, ‘one of the best’ has got to place him in the top five… of five.

    Even if we adopt a generous, upbeat, non grammatical view, ignoring the use of present tense and take ‘not many’ to mean ‘less than all the others’, the absolutely best interpretation is: ‘John Lee: he’s not the best, is he? Bless him.’

    Who knew Nonceferatu was a Pope fan, eh?:
    ‘Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer,
    And without sneering, teach the rest to sneer.’

  9. steve says:

    Relax, John, nobody’s going to be sending spies to Hong Kong, now that the Party and its Vichy acolytes have hollowed out the place and made it irrelevant.

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