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Hong Kong reports Visitor Arrival Figures for June 2005

Travel News Asia 12 August 2005

Hong Kong tourism continued its record-breaking run with a 5.8% year-on-year increase in arrivals in June 2005. The 1,742,745 visitors was the highest June total ever, and continued the trend of setting a new record every month of the year to date.

Long-haul markets, especially Europe, Africa and the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, continued to be the strongest performers, while most key markets registered increases compared with 2004. The continued growth trend during the first six months of 2005 brought the total half-yearly arrivals to 10,978,048. This is 9.6% more than in 2004 and an outright record for the period.

Among regional markets, Europe, Africa and the Middle East was the standout, with 121,759 visitors (+37.9%), closely followed by Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific (55,928, +33.9%). North Asian arrivals grew by 13.9% to 147,898, and those from the Americas by 9.1% to 128,866. More modest increases were seen from Mainland China (2.1%, 885,596) and South and South East Asia (3.1%, 192,279).

Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) Executive Director Clara Chong noted the double-digit growth from France, Germany and Australia, and the continued high visitor numbers from regional markets such as South Korea and Singapore. Thanks to the exceptional performances of many of our long- and short-haul markets during the past six months, weve comfortably surpassed our half-yearly target by attracting more than 10.97 million visitors.

Our forecasts for the next two months take into account a possible deferral of travel to Hong Kong in the run-up to the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland, especially among some Mainland and regional consumers. As our promotional efforts in long-haul regions and several short-haul markets are continuing to bear fruit, the growth in arrivals from these areas should be sufficient to offset any other shortfalls in the intervening period, Ms Chong said.

Analysis by Markets, June and January - June 2005

Mainland China provided slightly more than half Hong Kongs June arrivals, its 885,596 visitors taking the half-yearly total for this key market above 5.88 million. This is 3.8% higher than in 2004 and accounts for 53.6% of all arrivals to the city between 1 January and 30 June. Monthly arrivals under the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) numbered 352,211, 39.8% of the total from the Mainland, while the cumulative 2.54 million IVS visitors in the first half of 2005 represents 43.2% of all arrivals from China. June is traditionally a quiet period for outbound travel from the Mainland, because of school examinations held during the month. Cross-border arrivals were also affected by poor weather, as well as by the pre-Disney effect that is leading some potential visitors to delay travel until after the theme parks opening in September. In the interim, the HKTB is cooperating with Mainland trade partners to sustain consumer interest through a range of offers and promotions, such as a Hong Kong Shopping Festival campaign that is reaching 30 cities in 14 provinces.

While the 167,860 visitors from Taiwan represented a June year-on-year drop of 3.7% compared with 2004, the cumulative total of 1.01 million visitors in the first half of 2005 is nonetheless some 3.4% higher than in the previous year. Arrivals from Taiwan were negatively affected by the poor June weather in Hong Kong, as well as increased competition from other short-haul destinations. On the other hand, the percentage of overnight against same-day in-town visitors continued to rise in June, bringing the half-yearly figure to 27.4% of all arrivals from Taiwan, 3.4 percentage points higher than in 2004. This positive trend reflects the HKTBs marketing focus on the young office ladies and family segments, who travel to Hong Kong as a single, leisure destination. Same-day in-town arrivals, however, continue to be impacted by the growing popularity of Hong Kong International Airports SkyPier, which enables passengers travelling to destinations in the Pearl River Delta to transfer without passing through Hong Kong Immigration.

South and South East Asia saw a growth of 3.1% in June, which brought monthly arrivals to 192,279. Singapore was the strongest individual market with 55,060 visitors, who continued to be attracted by highly competitive air fares and the advantageous exchange rate. This was 3.3% higher than in June 2004, an apparently modest increase that reflects last years unusually high arrivals for the month, which accompanied the launch of a new low-cost carrier on the Singapore-Hong Kong route. From India, publicity for the Hong Kong Shopping Festival and a large delegation to the Lions Clubs International Convention boosted June arrivals by 21.1% (27,310). 

On the other hand, the recent political instability in the Philippines, and a weakening economy in Thailand created a wait-and-see attitude towards travel in both markets, with the result that June arrivals declined by 3.9% (to 29,526) and 7.2% (to 19,905) respectively. To stimulate arrivals from Thailand, the HKTB is working with industry partners to develop a range of attractive packages with second-tier airlines for sale from July to September, while Philippines consumers are being encouraged to travel at weekend with packages created around the Hong Kong Shopping Festival. In the first six months of 2005, more than 1.11 million visitors from South and South East Asia travelled to Hong Kong, a 22.7% increase over 2004.

Building on the existing strong preference for Hong Kong among Korean consumers, the HKTBs participation in the KOFTA Korea World Travel Fair in early June further increased awareness of the city. Indeed, the 38.8% (to 57,555) growth in arrivals in June made South Korea one of Hong Kongs most buoyant markets, as well as the driving force behind the 13.9% increase from North Asia (to 147,898). From Japan, a joint getaway promotion targeted at younger visitors, as well as the presence of a sizeable contingent at the Lions Clubs International Convention, assisted in the gradual recovery of arrivals following political tensions with the Mainland. The result was that Japanese visitors reached 90,343 in June, 2.2% above the 2004 figure. Cumulative arrivals from North Asia for the first six months of 2005 now stand at 883,480, some 23.9% higher than for the same period in 2004.

Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific continued to perform strongly in June, the 55,928 arrivals representing a 33.9% increase on the previous year. Of these, Australia provided 47,412, 35.5% more than in June 2004, many of whom were attracted by special airline packages on the Sydney-Hong Kong route. These promotions immediately preceded the HKTBs own co-operative activities for the Hong Kong Shopping Festival, which have sustained Hong Kongs strong presence in the  Australian market. The 290,454 visitors from Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific between January and June were 31.1% more than in the first half of 2004, making this the fastest-growing regional source market during the period.

Europe, Africa and the Middle East again proved to be Hong Kongs best regional performer with 121,759 visitors, 37.9% more than in June 2004. As in May, France showed the highest growth at 36.4% (14,163), with Germany increasing by 24.5% to 14,039, while the UK remained the biggest volume provider from the region with 30,396 visitors (+12.7%). Increased seat capacity from the UK and the joint effects of a tactical newspaper campaign, travel fairs and a road show all helped to grow arrivals from the region, as did the exchange rate. Cumulative arrivals for the first six months of the year reached 809,681, 25.3% higher than in the previous year.

June arrivals from the Americas increased by 9.1% to 128,866, which included 99,782 (+7.1%) visitors from the United States and 20,063 (-1.7%) from Canada. The overall growth from the region was stimulated by spring promotions and increased passenger capacity from the US, although the slight dip in Canadian arrivals can be accounted for by heavy outbound traffic from Hong Kong in response to attractive airfares. The half-yearly cumulative total from the region stood at 751,792, 16.4% more than in 2004.

Same-Day In-Town Visitors

Some 62.1% of all visitors to Hong Kong during June 2005 stayed in the city for at least one night, compared with 60.7% during the same month in 2004. The other 37.9%, who are classified as same-day in-town visitors, were either returning home or departing for another destination on the same day as arrival.

Most long-haul visitors stay for at least one night, including 77.1% of June arrivals from the Americas, 79.7% from Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, and 72.1% from Europe, Africa and the Middle East, while 75% of arrivals from South and South East Asia were also classified as overnight visitors. In contrast, 26.7% of visitors from Taiwan stayed overnight, as many travellers from the island transit to and from Mainland China or other regional destinations via Hong Kong.

Between January and June 2005, 62.6% of all visitors stayed for one night or more, slightly higher than the 62.3% recorded in 2004.

Hotel Occupancy

Hotel occupancy across all categories of hotels and tourist guest houses in June was 83%, a three percentage-point drop compared with the 2004 figure that partially reflects the 7% increase in Hong Kongs room supply during the past 12 months. The highest tariff hotels averaged 83%, as in June 2004, while those in the second and third tiers recorded 83% and 84% respectively. Visitors most favoured geographic location in June was Wan Chai/Causeway Bay, where hotels recorded an occupancy rate of 86%. The average achieved hotel room rate across all hotel categories and districts was HK$810, 15.1% higher than in June 2004.

Average hotel occupancy for January-June 2005 is 83%, two percentage points lower than in 2004. The average achieved hotel room rate is HK$900, 18.2% higher than in the first six months of 2004.

See also: Hong Kong reports May 2005 Visitor Arrival Figures

See other recent news regarding: Hong Kong, HKTB, Visitor Arrivals

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