Visitor arrivals in September 2002 totalled 1,370,279, a 30.1% increase over the same month in 2001, the…
Visitor arrivals in September 2002 totalled 1,370,279, a 30.1% increase over the same month in 2001, the
The encouraging figure needs to be seen, however, in the context of last year’s 11 September terrorist attacks in the United States, which sent arrivals plummeting in the second half of that month. The comparison base is therefore relatively low.
Nevertheless, the cumulative January to September figures confirm that the growth trend remains very strong. Total visitor arrivals for the first nine months of 2002 now stand at 11,743,153, a 16.0% increase on the same period in 2001.
HKTB Executive Director Clara Chong said that although the September 2002 figures were very positive and in line with the healthy growth seen throughout this year, the circumstances made it difficult to read too much into them.
Once again, the terrible events in Bali have reminded us how fragile the recovery can be, she said. The tourism industry can no longer afford to take anything for granted. While feedback from our worldwide offices and trade partners suggests that so far, this latest incident is not having too much of an impact on bookings for Hong Kong, it seems inevitable that it will further dampen public sentiment to travel, especially in our long-haul markets.
On a more positive note, Ms Chong said that visitors’ average length of stay in Hong Kong had increased to 3.52 nights over the first nine months of 2002, compared with 3.05 nights for the same period in 2001. This is largely due to the increased number of Mainland tour groups this year, she explained. Up to the end of September, the average length of stay of Mainland visitors was 4.29 nights, a significant increase on the 3.40 nights recorded for the first three quarters of last year. This is welcome news for tourism-related businesses.
Analysis by Markets
Mainland China was once again the fastest growing market in September, accounting for 593,509 visitors, a 70.5% year-on-year-increase. More than 119,000 Mainland arrivals were recorded in the last five days of September alone, as visitors made an early start to the Golden Week National Day holiday at the beginning of October.
All other markets also showed positive growth in September. Arrivals from South & Southeast Asia increased by 13.0% to 148,554, with India (18,193, +26.8%) and the Philippines (25,815, +22.9%) performing especially well. North Asia recorded 9.2% growth to 162,476 arivals, led by Japan (130,013, +10.6%). Arrivals from Taiwan increased 10.5% to 196,415.
In the long-haul markets, arrivals from The Americas showed sharp growth of 20.3% to 95,814, although figures for this market, more than any other, will have been affected by the low comparison base in the wake of last September’s terrorist attacks. Arrivals from Europe, Africa & the Middle East rose by 9.7% to 99,150, while those from Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific grew 6.2% to 35,786.
Cumulative figures for the first nine months of 2002 show Mainland China leading the way with a 47.6% increase to 4,703,556 arrivals, which already surpasses the 4.48 million recorded in the whole of 2001. Arrivals from South & Southeast Asia are showing a 5.4% increase, followed by Europe, Africa & the Middle East (+3.7%), Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific (+2.0%) and The Americas (+1.6%). Only Taiwan (-1.3%) currently remains in negative overall growth, while arrivals from North Asia are almost identical to those of 2001.
During September 2002, 63.1% of all visitors stayed for one night or longer, compared with 63.4% in the same month last year. The remaining 36.9% continued to other destinations on the same day. Visitors from The Americas (79.6%) and Australia, New Zealand & South Pacific (79.5%) were the most likely to stay overnight, while at the other end of the scale, only 21.9% of all visitors from Taiwan did so.
For the first nine months of 2002 to date, 64.5% of all visitors have stayed for one night or longer, a similar figure to the 64.6% recorded in the same period in 2001.
Average hotel room occupancy across all categories was 82% in September, a significant increase on the 74% achieved in September 2001 when bookings were severely affected by the terrorist attacks in the United States. All different categories of hotels and tourist guest houses recorded increased occupancy, especially the top tariff (High Tariff A) hotels, which averaged 80% occupancy compared with only 67% the previous September.
For the first nine months of the year to date, average occupancy stands at 82%, compared with 78% in the same period of 2001.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.