In the past decade, Hong Kong has been well known for its duty free and wide range of goods, it allows people from the world have a fantastic shopping experience. However, more news reporting the negative images of Hong Kong tourism which adversely affects the image of “shoppers’ paradise”, are arisen. While numerous tourists can be seen in tourist spots in Hong Kong, some contend that they no longer choose Hong Kong as a travel destination. This paper will focus on the both sides of whether Hong Kong is still a shoppers’ paradise and draw a conclusion.
Wide range of merchandises and convenient shopping are prodominances of Hong Kong. According to research of Choi, Chan and Wu(1999), tourists are satified with shopping here as plenty of goods are provided and shopping is convenient, especially for those “urban entertainment oriented” people(Liu, Choi & Lee, 2011, p353). It has an excellent logistic system which supports significant amount of goods importing from foreign countries to Hong Kong. With an intelligent public transportation system, tourists can access to different shopping malls easily. While the shopping plazas not only provide products of international brands, also furnish tourists with different kinds of entertainment, such as karaoke and cinema. This meets varied needs of the shoppers and allows them to have a great shopping experience.
Price and quality of merchandises are another elements which establish Hong Kong as a shopping paradise. Due to globalization, international products are available in more countries, therefore price of goods become an essential consideration of tourists during shopping. Wong and Law (2003) find out that attractive price is the main reason why western tourists buying goods in Hong Kong. With inexpensive products, Hong Kong can become more competitive and attract more tourists to shop here. Apart from price, quality of goods is also vital. It is reasonable to believe that no one want to buy the goods which is ineffective or fail to operate normally. The mainland tourists tend to buy cosmetic and skincare merchandises in Hong Kong, as they express that the products are high quality with reasonable prices(Leung, Law & Lee, 2011). Merchandises with good quality control can
tempt tourists to shop in Hong Kong again and recommend to others.
However, Hong Kong is now facing more difficulties which challenges its status of shopping paradise. Deteriorating air quality is one of the concerns. Environment Canada(2002) state that poor air quality negatively affects tourist industry. While Hudson and Ritchie (2001) also advocate that more tourists take environmental aspect into account when choosing destination. It is widely believed that people like shopping with a pleasant atmosphere but not polluted air. According to the finding of Law and Cheung(2007), when compared to the visitors’ home countries, air quality in Hong Kong Still has room of improvement. Air pollution not only causes discomfort to the tourists, it is also harmful to human’s health which may affects their respiratory system and cardiovascular system. As a result, poor air quality which do harm to tourism, will frighten the tourists away.
In addition, dishonesty and unfavorable attitude of retailers are another factor damaging the reputation of shopping paradise. In study of Mak, Tsang and Cheung(1998), comparing with retailers in Singapore, Taiwanese tourists opined that those in Hong Kong should be more honest. It is generally acceptable that no one like being cheated, even though the shopping malls have wide range of goods, plenty of facilities. It is also found that the complaints lodged by mainland tourists due to dishonesty of retailers increased from 197 in 1998 to 316 in 2000 (The Sun, 21 July, 2001, p. A2). Some people may agree that bad attitude avoid them to patronize the shop or even shop in Hong Kong. Taiwanese tourists commented that some retailers in Hong Kong are unfriendly, impolite and not willing to give information (Mak, Tsang & Cheung, 1998). This may result that tourists no longer regard Hong Kong as a shoppers’ paradise as they cannot get satisfied shopping experience.
Hong Kong has the ability to be a shopping paradise. It provides wide variety of products and entertainments and allows tourists enjoy shopping in a shopping mall conveniently. Goods in Hong Kong are also high quality but inexpensive. However, worsening air quality and dishonest retailers bring the tourists a negative image of Hong Kong, then causing them no longer want
to shop in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is still a shoppers’ paradise but improvements are required in order to maintain the reputation. Training to retailers should be encouraged. Retailers have direct interaction with tourists that their performances influence tourists’ impression towards Hong Kong. Another suggestion is that government should cooperate with Guangdong province. Since most of pollutants in Hong Kong are originated in Pearl River Delta, this is an direct method to reduce air pollution in Hong Kong.
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