Mercedes Hutton

Mercedes Hutton

Copy Editor and Post Magazine Columnist

Mercedes is an experienced lifestyle and travel journalist who covers travel and tourism in Asia for the South China Morning Post.

Location
Hong Kong
Language spoken
English, French
Areas of Expertise
Travel, tourism, podcasting
How ‘China’s Hawaii’ thrived without international tourists
China has long had high hopes for international tourism in Hainan. In 2009, plans to transform the tropical island province into a desirable overseas destination by 2020 were announced. “But 2020 has arrived and failure to fulfill the island’s potential has not been for want of Beijing’s support,” reported the South China Morning Post in October. Not that Hainan has lacked in visitors. According to the Chinese tabloid the Global Times, “More than 83 million tourists from home and abroad visited southern China’s tropical island province of Hainan in 2019, up 9% year on year.” Tourism revenue also increased, rising 11% to US$16.2 billion, although noticeably absent from the article was the br
Kyoto is not necessarily clamoring for the return of Chinese tourists
The coronavirus might have curtailed international travel from China, but it hasn’t stopped what the United Nations World Tourism Organization identified as “the leading tourism outbound market in the world both in departure numbers as well as total expenditure” from wanting to explore beyond the nation’s borders.  In lieu of real-life expeditions, they have been making do with tours of popular destinations, including the Palace of Versailles, in France, and London’s British Museum, live-streamed by travel companies. On November 9, Alibaba’s travel platform Fliggy joined forces with the West Japan Railway Company (JR West) to “bring popular tourist attractions in Kyoto online to Chinese neti
How to travel as a vegan in Asia
Visiting foodies in search of gratification are spoiled for choice in Asia.  From dim sum in Hong Kong and pho in Vietnam to sashimi in Japan or tom yum goong in Thailand, there is no shortage of taste-bud tingling experiences to write postcards home about.  But what about vegan and vegetarian visitors? Can a region best known for its meat-based offerings cater to those living on a purely plant-based diet? Increasingly, yes. 9% of the Asia-Pacific population identified as vegan in 2016, which means abstaining from consuming food, wearing clothes and using products that come from animals, according to online statistics portal Statista.  The region has the largest share of plant-based consumer
Drones are even more annoying than selfie sticks
Forget the selfie stick, there is an even more irritating menace to modern travelers; one that has the power to ground flights, ruin holidays and make a persona non grata of its handler. Whether over a remote Thai beach or one of Sri Lanka’s national parks, the distinctive buzz of a drone will infuriate even the most happy-go-lucky of holiday-goers, eliciting expletives and making middle fingers stiffen as it hovers overhead. American space agency NASA has even studied what it calls “the annoyance generated by sUAS noise” – that’s “small Unmanned Aerial System” – concluding, unsurprisingly, that people find the sound of a drone rather irritating. On March 17, The Times of India reported tha