Hong Kong arrivals slip 1.7 per cent in 2015


ARRIVALS in Hong Kong dwindled last year, dropping 1.7 per cent for the January-November block compared to the same period in 2014.

The mainland Chinese market suffered the most with a 15.5 per cent decrease. The Travel Industry Council (TIC) observed that Chinese tour group registrations have plunged from 154,517 to 119,115, down 23 per cent.

Anthony Lau, executive director, Hong Kong Tourism Board, said: “2015 has been a challenging year for Hong Kong’s tourism industry. Various external factors have affected the number of visitors to Hong Kong, particularly those from mainland China.

“Other factors include the depreciation of currencies in nearby destinations, the global economic environment, the outbreak of MERS in South Korea, the quota limitation of Individual Visit Endorsements for permanent residents of Shenzhen, and the recent unfortunate incident that involved the death of a mainland visitor.”

Lau added: “Though the number of visitor arrivals has showed negative growth since March last year, the number started to pick up in the past few months with good growth coming from virtually all the shorthaul markets, north Americas as well as India.

“We expect there will be a slight decline of 1 to 2 per cent on visitor arrivals this year.”

Wing Wong, W Travel’s managing director, blamed exchange rates as well. “Apart from Indonesia and Malaysia, Japan’s yen also depreciated a lot and its relaxed visa requirements resulted in drawing a lot of Chinese traffic in that direction.

“Our strong peg with the US dollar indeed undermined travellers’ interests. However, our hotels have been realistic and readjusted their rates down proactively so hopefully, this move will attract visitors.”

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