India star dims for HK

HONG KONG’S blue-eyed boy last year, the India market, is showing signs of weakening for the SAR, dropping 5.1 per cent in the first six months over the same period last year, after a spectacular rise of 44.8 per cent in 2010 due to new direct flights.

Some Indian outbound travel agents are quick to blame Hong Kong’s high room rates, along with a more aggressive campaign by Macau, for the dip.

“Bookings to Hong Kong have dropped 10-15 per cent in the first six months, as my clients have been unwilling to pay the rates demanded by hotels,” said Ashwani Gupta, managing partner, Dove Travels.

The average room rate grew 17.1 per cent to HK$1,222 (US$157) in the first six months, half a per cent higher than the peak of HK$1,216 in 2008.

Shiban Kotru, president of Uniglobe Travel, warned the slump in Indian arrivals to Hong Kong would continue if room rates rose further and if a shortage of room supply was not addressed soon. “Compared to other cities in Asia such as Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, hotel rates in Hong Kong are prohibitively expensive.

“Indians can, for instance, stay in Bangkok’s five-star properties at prices charged by three- and four-star hotels in Hong Kong,” he said, adding that his clients now preferred Kuala Lumpur and Bali, where room rates were still within “acceptable limits.”

– Read more in TTG-PTM Official Daily – Day 3 issue

Sponsored Post