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Transcript of remarks by CE at media session before ExCo (with video)
     Following is the transcript of remarks by the Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, at a media session before the Executive Council meeting today (May 2):
Reporter: Hello. About the Golden Week, you mentioned that the tourists are now heading to many neighbourhoods. Are there any plans to relieve the threat that these tourists could pose on these neighbourhoods, especially like Kennedy Town and Cheung Chau, which are not really tourist hotspots before? And what do you think about the Golden Week number? Are you happy, satisfied with those numbers? And also, we have reported that more than 30 000 students have left local schools in the last year, which is 10 per cent up from the previous years. Is that a worrying trend for you about the drop in student number, and will the Government do a new round of assessment in the long-term impact on Hong Kong's population pattern because of the migration wave and also the drop in student numbers? Thank you.
Chief Executive: Regarding tourism, and regarding tourists' very diverse choices of what they want to do in Hong Kong, in fact, this is a welcome sign. Hong Kong always emphasises on its attraction to tourists in many regards, with not just favourite shopping spots, good theme parks; we also have country parks and a lot of different outlying areas where we think are very attractive to tourists. So I am in support of diversity, and creating more attractions for tourists to come. This will not just help tourism, but also make local developments go hand in hand with the development of tourism, helping overall job creations and development of the economy, and also create a positive image of Hong Kong being a very vibrant and attractive city. So different organisations and also government departments will go along that direction to develop our potentials and also the capacity building for tourism.
     As regards the number of tourists, in fact, the number of tourists is as we expect, because we know there will be different stages for tourists to develop (in number), such as ensuring that they have the right documents to leave their home countries and go to the places they want. And also, the capacity needs to be built up since we only finished tackling the COVID pandemic in February, so it takes time. But I'm very pleased with the development so far because as I've said earlier, those who work in the tourism industry have been doing a lot, and I think their performance really impressed a lot of Hong Kong people and tourists as well. And things have moved very favourably in different regards, regarding attraction of different spots and the orderly and secure environment that people can enjoy as they come to satisfy their own needs in different areas.
     As regards the number of students dropping, that is a long-term trend, I think, looking at the statistics, so it is not just a temporary situation. In fact, the Education Bureau has been doing a lot to ensure that there will be soft landing in all regards, so that there will be a smooth transition and changes that will handle the drop in the overall student population. They will be working hand in hand with the education sector so as to ensure that things will work out smoothly.
     And as regards people going in and out of Hong Kong, this is, I think, a quite frequent pattern of in and out that Hong Kong has been facing over the years. And we think that as Hong Kong has now resumed normal travel with the Mainland and also fully connected with the world, there will be a lot of people thinking of settling in Hong Kong, and also, if they have for various reasons left Hong Kong, there will be good attraction and good reason for them to come back. So we'll be monitoring the overall situation and we'll plan our policy accordingly.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)
Ends/Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Issued at HKT 13:17
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CE meets the media