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HomeAsia-PacificHong Kong June 2002 arrivals grow 6% to keep forecasts well on track at six-month stage

Hong Kong June 2002 arrivals grow 6% to keep forecasts well on track at six-month stage

Latest figures released by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) show that Hong Kong welcomed…

Latest figures released by the Hong Kong<.> Tourism Board (HKTB<.>) show that Hong Kong welcomed 1,174,202 visitors in June 2002. This represents an encouraging 6.0% year-on-year increase in what is always one of the quieter tourist months of the year.

For the first six months of 2002 to date, total arrivals have now grown by 12.8% to 7,503,103, which is well ahead of the HKTB`s initial forecast of 7.9% growth for the year.

Announcing the latest figures, HKTB Executive Director Clara Chong said that if similar growth can be maintained in the second of 2002, arrivals for the full year should comfortably exceed 15 million. Although we are still seeing economic and other concerns in a number of our major markets, the overall picture is quite encouraging, she observed. We have seen positive growth in arrivals every month so far this year, and both the long-haul and short-haul markets are benefiting.

Once again, arrivals from Mainland China led the way in June, totalling 423,763, a 25.7% increase compared with the same month in 2001. For the first six months of this year, more than 2.88 million Mainland visitors have been welcomed, an increase of 43.2%.

There were also encouraging performances from Europe, Africa & the Middle East (+5.6%) and Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific (+3.2%). The Americas, on the other hand, recorded a minor decrease of 0.1% in June, despite arrivals from Canada growing by 6.8%. All three long-haul markets, however, are showing positive overall growth for the first half of the year.

In the short-haul markets, arrivals from South & Southeast Asia grew by 3.2%, with especially strong performances from the Philippines (+25.8%), Indonesia (+23.0%) and India (+22.1%), lured by the HSBC Mega Hong Kong Sale promotion and some attractive summer travel packages on offer. In contrast, residents of World Cup co-hosts Japan (-1.7%) and South Korea (-10.9%) preferred to stay at home during June and support their national teams, leading to a 3.8% fall in arrivals from North Asia. Taiwan, a difficult market all year with sentiment further dampened by the crash of a Hong Kong-bound China Airlines flight in May, saw arrivals fall 11.8%.

For the first six months of 2002, South & Southeast Asia is showing positive overall growth of +2.2%, while arrivals from North Asia (-1.7%) and Taiwan (-3.9%) are below those of the same period last year.

Ms Chong said that now the World Cup was over, a more consistent growth pattern was expected in the short-haul markets during the next two months. Arrivals from Japan and South & Southeast Asia in the early part of July have looked especially encouraging, she noted. We already know that a lot of visitors are coming either in special tour groups or as individuals to experience our Mega Hong Kong Sale shopping extravaganza, which has been very positively received by the travel trade and media across the region and still has the rest of July and August to run.

Another positive development is the increase in air capacity between Taiwan and Hong Kong following the signing of a new air services agreement, Ms Chong added. This, coupled with the introduction of the iPermit electronic visa system earlier this year, should make Hong Kong a more attractive long-weekend destination for Taiwan residents.

Same-Day Visitors

During June, 63.1% of all visitors stayed for one night or longer, compared with 63.3% in June 2001. The remaining 36.9% continued to other destinations on the same day. (Note: These figures only include travellers who passed through Hong Kong Immigration, not those who were solely transit passengers).

For the first six months of the year to date, 64.3% of all visitors have stayed for one night or longer, compared with 64.6% in the same period in 2001. Visitors most likely to stay on have been those from The Americas (81.5%), Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific (80.6%) and South & Southeast Asia (77.6%). In contrast, only 23.2% of visitors from Taiwan have stayed overnight, as a significant proportion are business people who continue by land to or from destinations in Southern China.

Hotel Occupancy

Average hotel room occupancy across all categories was 79% in June, compared with 77% in the same month in 2001.

For the first six months of the year to date, average occupancy now stands at 82%, compared with 78% in the first half of 2001. Hotels in the top tariff group have achieved 77% occupancy, while those at the next level (High Tariff B) rank highest with 85%. Hotels on Hong Kong Island beyond the main Central to Causeway Bay corridor are proving the most popular choice, achieving 87% occupancy for the first half of the year.

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