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Hong Kong Visitor Arrivals in March and Q1 2010

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Hong Kong visitor arrivals during the first quarter of 2010 leaped by 16.5% to 8,624,688, making it the highest figure for the first quarter ever. Visitor arrivals in March 2010 reached 2,798,316, a figure which represents not only a 14.4% increase over March 2009, but also a new record for March.

 The continued increase in visitor arrivals in March has culminated in a record high for the first quarter of 2010, with most market regions showing double-digit growth. In particular, arrivals from Mainland China, Taiwan and most short-haul markets have surpassed the levels in 2008 [see: March 2008] before the onset of the global financial crisis, while other markets are also steadily heading for full recovery. All these positive trends are evidence of the improving confidence and sentiments to travel among global consumers, as the economic conditions rebound, said Hong Kong Tourism Board Chairman, Mr James Tien.

In the first quarter of 2010, Mainland China was the best performing market region, with total visitor arrivals surpassing 5,540,000, 18.7% more than in the same period of 2009. The rise was mainly attributed to the multiple-journey Individual Visit Endorsement by the Mainland, which gives Shenzhen residents even greater convenience in visiting Hong Kong. Meanwhile, vacation visitors from Taiwan have also increased against the impact of cross-strait direct flights, raising the total arrivals from the island by over 10% to 537,024.

Besides Mainland China, North Asia also achieved significant growth (+18.3%) in the first quarter. In particular, arrivals from South Korea soared by as much as 43.6%, as a result of the appreciation of the Won currency and rebound in outbound travel in the past three months.

For the long-haul regions, the double-digit increase in arrivals was partly owed to the relatively lower base for comparison, as arrivals from the regions last year were affected by the global financial tsunami. Notwithstanding so, for March alone, the staging of the Hong Kong Sevens 2010 and numerous large-scale trade shows caused visitor arrivals from Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific to surge by 19.6% during the month, surpassing the level in 2008.

The widespread growth also applied to the emerging markets, which sustained the rising trend since the end of last year. As a result of a number of positive factors, including expanded flight capacity, visa-free arrangements and increased propensity to travel, there was prominent increase in arrivals from India (+42.8%), Russia (+133.4%) and the Middle East (+22.7%) in the first quarter of this year.

Hong Kong Visitor Arrivals in Q1 2010 and March 2010

January March March
Market Regions 2010 Change Vs. 2009 2010 Change Vs. 2009
Long-haul markets 1,096,240 +11.4% 441,731 +15.0%
The Americas 389,712 +8.3% 157,271 +8.8%
Europe, Africa and the Middle East 523,815 +13.3% 217,233 +18.5%
Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific 182,713 +12.6% 67,227 +19.6%
Short-haul markets (excl. Mainland China and Macau) 1,811,731 +14.3% 669,695 +16.5%
North Asia 559,532 +18.3% 203,588 +29.6%
South and Southeast Asia 715,175 +13.9% 299,712 +14.6%
Taiwan 537,024 +10.7% 166,395 +6.7%
Mainland China 5,548,912 +18.7% 1,631,163 +13.4%
Total (includes arrivals from Macau SAR) 8,624,688 +16.5% 2,798,316 +14.4%

 Overnight visitors made up 56.1% of all visitor arrivals to Hong Kong in the first quarter of 2010. All market regions showed a higher proportion of overnight visitors. In particular, the increase in the number of vacation visitors from Taiwan has driven the proportion of overnight arrivals to 34.5%, three percentage points higher than in the same period in 2009.

As for same-day-in-town visitors, the ratio rose from 42% in the first quarter of 2009 to 43.9% this year, which reflects the surging number of same-day visitors from Mainland China.

Hotel occupancy across all categories of hotels in March this year, at the rate of 88%, was six percentage points higher than in the same month in 2009. With an average occupancy rate of 93%, hotels in Yau Ma Tei and Mong Kok enjoyed the highest occupancy level.

 The average achieved hotel room rate across all hotel categories was HK$1,182, 9.9% greater than the figure in March 2009. For the first quarter of 2010, hotel occupancy stood at 85%.

See also: Hong Kong Visitor Arrivals in March 2009 and Hong Kong Visitor Arrivals in February 2010

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