Tuesday, August 19, 2008

One Park, One System?

As per as stated in the SCMP dated 30 July 2008 " ..... Under the pilot scheme, migrants living and working in Shenzhen will be able to join group tours to Disneyland without having to return to their home provinces to obtain travel permits.

An estimated 12 million of Shenzhen's 16 million residents are migrants, although a majority of this floating population are poor workers.

Under the initiative, the 200 to 300 mainland-sanctioned Hong Kong travel companies can organise group tours to Disneyland for non-Guangdong residents who have lived and worked in Shenzhen for at least a year.A Disneyland spokesman said details were being finalised but the pilot scheme would probably last a year.

A government spokesman had said it was hoped that other attractions would be added to the scheme at an appropriate time. Later, the government said groups under the pilot scheme could stay overnight and go elsewhere in the city but their itinerary would have to include Disneyland.
A spokesman for Ocean Park said it was a good arrangement and he hoped the park could be included in the scheme soon.Charles Li Kui-wai, associate professor of economics and finance at City University, said there were many ways for Disneyland to promote itself to mainland visitors.

"This interference by the government is not good. How can there be a trade agreement for Hong Kong Disneyland? Why not Ocean Park? Why not Ngong Ping 360?" Mr Li said.

John Ap, Polytechnic University associate professor of tourism, said Disneyland's special deal raised questions about a level playing field. "Adopting a cynical approach, you can say something is fishy here." Although there was nothing to prevent Ocean Park and other attractions from pursuing similar benefits, Dr Ap said the need for this initiative might underline Disneyland's below-target performance so far.

Paul Leung Yiu-lam, president of the Hong Kong Inbound Travel Association, said it was unfair for the trial period to last as long as a year.

Mr Leung, who is also managing director of Holiday World Tours, said same-day Shenzhen group tours to Disneyland would probably be priced no higher than HK$400 per visitor. Holiday World Tours was authorised by the mainland and would be interested in conducting the Shenzhen tours, he said.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board welcomed the initiative".

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