Concentrating on the backpacker section could also be an
efficient technique of diversifying Hong Kong’s tourism market and
selling sustainable tourism, in response to Dr Wantanee Suntikul,
Dr Denis Tolkach, Dr Elizabeth Agyeiwaah (Ph.D. graduate) and Mr
Ching-Nok Lung (BSc graduate) of the College of Resort and Tourism
Administration (SHTM) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic College.
 In a not too long ago revealed article, the
researchers revealed that, in response to survey outcomes,
“backpackers are pushed by the seek for new concepts and pulled by
the distinctive meals tradition of Hong Kong”. The article additionally suggests
that backpackers usually tend to assist the
native financial system than different varieties of vacationers, a lot of whom go to,
it says,
due to its popularity as a world procuring
vacation spot.

Till very not too long ago, Hong Kong’s
tourism market was dominated by continuous development within the variety of
mainland Chinese language vacationers, who have been “predominantly eager about
procuring”. Nonetheless, this pattern has been reversed previously few
years, because the variety of mainland guests dropped from a peak of
47.2 million in 2014 to 40.three million in 2016. Potential causes
for this alteration embody “native residents’ resentment in direction of
procuring tourism”, particularly parallel buying and selling, during which items are
transported from Hong Kong to mainland China for resale, and the
basic financial downturn.
Regardless of the causes,
the researchers stress that there’s an “pressing want for Hong Kong
to diversify its tourism choices”. The backpacker market
presents one such alternative, as a result of these vacationers “demand
little infrastructure growth” and have a tendency to spend extra money
with native companies, thus benefitting native communities.
Importantly, the researchers be aware that backpackers are an
“educated group” of typically youthful adults who wish to journey
independently and work together with the communities they go to. They
are often fairly adventurous and “don’t confine themselves to
their ‘consolation zone’” however favor to discover unfamiliar locations with
an emphasis on outside actions and eco-travel. As a result of they
usually spend longer at a vacation spot, their total spending is
larger than that of different vacationer teams, and so they usually go to extra distant districts and use native companies, thus spreading their
expenditure all through the native financial system.
Nonetheless,
the advantages of the backpacker market have additionally been challenged,
with some research suggesting that there could also be restricted and even
detrimental results on native communities. Understanding the
motivations, preferences and behavior of backpackers in Asia is
an necessary first step in deciding whether or not and methods to appeal to
this explicit group.
The researchers thus
carried out a survey of backpackers staying at seven youth hostels
in Hong Kong, as hostels are an “cheap lodging choice
that’s common amongst backpackers”. Different respondents have been
surveyed whereas participating in outside actions, reminiscent of mountaineering
on the favored MacLehose Path and Dragon’s Again Path. General,
90% of the respondents have been staying in youth hostels and the opposite
10% have been interviewed outdoor.
Greater than 60% of the
respondents have been unbiased feminine travellers of their twenties,
and greater than 93% held a Bachelor’s diploma. Virtually 80% got here from
North America, Australia or Europe, and simply over 20% from Asia.
Their common size of keep in Hong Kong was every week or much less, and
they spent round US$46-86 per day – fairly a low quantity whenever you
take into account the typical resort room charges in Hong Kong. Based on the researchers,
they tended to “go to distant areas of the town, guided of their
itineraries by guidebooks and social media”.
The
essential ‘pull’ components that motivated the backpackers to go to Hong
Kong have been the “distinctive native meals”, the chance for “friendship
with individuals of various nations” and the “native life-style”.
The researchers be aware that the need to expertise
native meals shouldn’t be typically related to backpackers’ journey
motivations. This is a vital discovering as a result of it
differentiates backpackers in Hong Kong from these in different
locations and signifies a method of attracting this group of
travellers. Meals as a pull issue “serves as a supply of
employment and earnings for native meals suppliers and not directly for
native farmers”. It additionally gives alternatives for cultural trade
between travellers and host communities.
Procuring
was ranked because the lowest precedence, as anticipated given the same old
pursuits of this group of travellers. Quite extra surprisingly,
outside actions additionally ranked very low, regardless of such actions
usually being one of many essential points of interest for backpackers. The
researchers recommend that this can be as a result of Hong Kong shouldn’t be
“primarily a nature-based vacation spot” and outside actions are
not a part of the vacation spot’s picture.
Among the many
inner ‘push’ components that motivated the respondents to go to
Hong Kong, the highest three have been “studying new issues”,
“independence” and “experiencing unfamiliar life”.
Once more, the researchers be aware that crucial issue, the
want to be taught new issues, differs from that present in research
carried out elsewhere, which have tended to determine escape and
leisure as backpackers’ essential inner motivation.
Just like backpackers elsewhere, the vast majority of respondents
most popular to remain in youth hostels, though they differed within the
“parts and qualities” that they anticipated. “Pleasant native
workers” was crucial lodging function, together with areas for assembly new associates. Because the researchers be aware, these
options match properly with backpackers’ want to be taught new issues, as
pleasant native workers “present an atmosphere for interplay and
native data”, and that is complemented by the chance to
make new associates.
Not surprisingly, the examine additionally highlighted the desire for native road
markets. Researchers recommend that that is “indicative of how Hong
Kong’s present points of interest could possibly be capitalised on”, as a result of
backpackers are extra eager about exploring the distinctive options
of a vacation spot, which doesn’t require any extra
infrastructure.
One other ingredient of the
contribution backpackers make to Hong Kong is the extent to which
they contribute to the event of sustainable tourism. The
backpackers interviewed say they have been more likely to purchase merchandise
from native retailers than from worldwide manufacturers, thus supporting
native employment on the vacation spot. Additionally they contributed to
sustainable tourism by supporting native actions, reminiscent of
collaborating in cultural workshops and different culture-related
actions, and interacting with village residents.

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