In an adverse environment of declining commercial activities, Financial Secretary Paul Chan sets out to revitalize Hong Kong’s night markets to boost local spending.
The pandemic was a great turning point of many Hongkongers’ spending habits. Many people are choosing to either travel overseas or visit neighboring mainland cities, with fewer and fewer people willing to shop and dine locally. Complaints about rising dining costs and declining food quality can be found throughout online forums and social media, indicating customers’ growing tendency to take their businesses elsewhere.
The recession is more apparent in Hong Kong’s most popular nightlife areas — the bustling streets of Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui are dimming their lights earlier, with few shops and restaurants opening past 10pm.
For the night markets to evolve into an economy, policymakers should take into account why visitors and locals alike are not loosening their purse strings: are the products and prices competitive? What other relevant activities can keep people outside until late? Not to mention night markets are prone to lower hygiene standards and interference from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department.
Attempts at realizing the night market economy roadmap have been valiant, with local shopping arcades and markets giving out vouchers, extending operation hours and promoting the idea of “community” to drive traffic. Let’s look forward to the return of night markets, symbols of nostalgia and a golden era bygone.
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