Tourists everywhere … except Hong Kong

The Greater Bay Area is getting back to normal gradually this week, after a long holiday to celebrate National Day. But already, official data shows it was a good time for tourism everywhere except Hong Kong. Visitors to the province were up 9.1% YoY to – get this – 55.077 million! Revenues were up even more, 13.3%, to RMB 46.49 billion.

Not bad for a province with a population of just under 80 million. And far better than the rest of the country, according to official data.

Macau had a good run, too. For the first six days, headcounts were up 13.0% YoY. Gross gaming revenues for the casino industry have not yet been released. 

What drove this surge? “Red” tourism, of course. Guangdong’s top 100 scenic spots, as defined by the government, receiving 11.322 million tourists, an increase of just 3.1%. But this year the government has been heavily promoting the ancient Shudao area, which received 2.996 million tourists, up 6.4%; and 13 so-called “red” tourism scenic spots – historical sites linked to the history of the Party – received 1.597 million tourists, up 13.7%.

Key spots were the Zhongshan Memorial Hall, the Martyrs Cemetery, the Su Zhaozheng Former Residence Exhibition Hall, the Yang Lanan Exhibition Hall, Lin Weimin and the Chinese Early Workers Movement Historical Site Exhibition Hall, the Wanshan Naval Battle Site, and the relics of the Japanese ruins of the Sanzhao Island.

Libraries, cultural centers, museums, and art galleries throughout the province were apparently full, too. On October 1, the Guangdong Provincial Museum accepted more than 90,000 visitors.

Western commentators fixated with the idea of Chinese masses yearning to break free from the Communist yoke would have found the popularity of certain events puzzling. On October 1, no fewer than 100 parks in the nine GBA cities within Guangdong heled events themed “Love My China – Nanyue Baiyuan Qing National Day”. Fireworks abounded, with Guangzhou and Zhuhai putting on big shows, while Shenzhen did its thing electronically, with a light show on the sides of buildings across the city – especially in the Futian district.   

Not a few of these visitors managed to sneak in a visit to the baccarat tables while they were here. Preliminary figures from Macau’s Public Security Police show that between October 1 and Sunday (October 6), Macau welcomed 906,100 visitors. Most were from the mainland – 744,600, up 10.7% YoY.

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