Published on : Tuesday, October 31, 2017
New figures revealed on Tuesday showed that the latest upswing in Hong Kong’s tourist numbers has gained further momentum with tourist arrivals up 4.8 per cent year-on-year for September as more mainland travellers flocked to the city. Going by that trend, industry insiders forecast annual growth of between 2 and 3 per cent, thanks to seasonal festive events and pleasant weather.
“If the increase in the fourth quarter can remain around 3 per cent, optimistically speaking, we may even get full-year growth of above 3 per cent,” Yiu Si-wing, the legislator who represents the tourism industry, said.
The upturn comes after two consecutive years of decline for the industry, which employs more than 280,000 people in the city. The number of visitors to Hong Kong dropped 2.5 per cent in 2015 and 4.5 per cent in 2016.
Statistics released by the Tourism Board on Tuesday showed that in September more than 4.63 million visitors arrived in Hong Kong. Of those, 3.57 million, or 77 per cent, were from the mainland.
For the first nine months of this year, tourist arrivals grew 2.2 per cent year on year, to 42.63 million. The number of visitors staying overnight jumped 4.3 per cent.
Mainland tourists account for four out of every five visitors to Hong Kong.
Of those, the number who visited and left on the same day grew 7.8 per cent in September on a year earlier. The number of those who stayed overnight was up 6.3 per cent.
Tung Yiu-chung, executive director of the Travel Industry Council, said Hong Kong had on average of 220 groups of mainland visitors every day for the year to October 30. That was 60 more than the daily average for 2016.
Industry veterans said mainland travellers were coming back as negative impressions of the city fade.
Besides the change in social sentiment, Yiu said local agencies’ promotional work also contributed to the increase in mainland tour groups.
The growth was expected to last through the year’s final quarter.
Tags: HK tourism