CRI在线收听:HK Sees Largest Drop of Mainland Tourists During Spring Festival Holidays

Hong Kong has seen a 10 percent year-on-year decline in the number of mainland tourists during the Spring Festival holiday, while the number of mainland tourist groups plummeted by 70 percent, to about 120 groups per day.

A rarely seen riot took place in Mong Kok on the first night of the new lunar calendar, in which more than 100 people were injured, with fires lit in the streets and bricks thrown at police.

Some mainland tourists say their itinerary was not affected by the incident.

"I am planning to spend 10 to 20 thousand HK dollars to buy electronics, clothes and shoes. Hong Kong is a city ruled by law, and should be a safe place. I believe it is only a small fraction of people who are making trouble."

But others say they worry about their safety when traveling to the city.

"The clashes were scarier than I thought, because I've heard Hong Kong is a civilized society and people have good manners."

"I am a little bit worried about my safety. I don't feel very secure here."

Shop owners in Mong Kok say far fewer tourists visited their stores during the holiday this year.

"From Monday till now, no one would like to come to this area. There are more police than tourists. My business is not even half as good as last year, what can I do? What should I do after the holiday?"

Hong Kong's Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung believes that local tourism will go through a tough time for quite a while, but the violence in Mong Kok does not appear to have put tourists off from coming to the city.

"The swift response from the police has reassured visitors that Hong Kong is still a safe destination. We haven't received any inquiries from abroad about the incident. I hope this is a solo case."

The first week in the lunar new year in Hong Kong, which was supposed to be a time of celebration and happiness, has proven to be eventful.

On Saturday morning, a large fire, suspected to be arson, broke out in a parking lot, following a similar incident where dozens of rubbish bins near Mong Kok were set on fire during the week.

No evidence discovered yet has shown any connection between the fires and the riot.

For CRI, this is Li Jing in Hong Kong.