Hong Kong saw the comeback of mainland Chinese group arrivals during the Golden Week holiday this year – the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China – with industry players pointing to contributing factors such as fading perceptions of hostility and traffic diversion from South Korea.
Travel Industry Council (TIC) executive director Joseph Tung, said: “In 2016, (there were) only 120 groups per day due to the impact of harassment on mainland tourists over last two years. This year, it’s around 200-220 groups each day.
“The recent political conflict between South Korean and China may have driven some Chinese traffic to Hong Kong, but (also) our hotel rate has been lowered and become more affordable versus expensive room rate in Macau.”
The 20th anniversary of the city’s handover from Britain to China also had an effect, according to Sincere International Travel Services managing director, Charles Ng.
Ng said: “A series of celebrations and activities were organised and drew visitations. Moreover, the negative impression (that arose from) mainland visitors being harassed and besieged by radical locals eventually faded away after two years.”
He cited Hong Kong’s “stable business environment” for his optimism that the city would continue to grow in popularity among Chinese group and FIT travellers this year.
Agreeing, TIC’s Mainland China Inbound Tour Affairs Committee chairman, Paul Leung, said: “For years, Hong Kong has been an attractive destination for Chinese travellers. If China opens up more (source markets) to visit Hong Kong in future, the traffic will keep coming.
“In the long run, group travel will remain stable without big surges, but FITs will grow significantly.”
Based on statistics from Hong Kong’s Immigration Department, total Chinese arrivals between September 30 and Octobert 8 jumped 13 per cent to 1.5 million.