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Hong Kong Visitor Arrivals for August 2005

Travel News Asia 6 October 2005

Tourism arrivals to Hong Kong continued to grow in August 2005, with a 2.6% rise over the same month in 2004. The increase brought the visitor total to 2,120,635, an outright record for a single month. It also raised cumulative arrivals for the first eight months of 2005 to 15,165,923, a year-on-year increase of 7.8%

As in previous months in 2005, the increase in arrivals was largely driven by continued robust performance from several long-haul markets. Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific registered especially outstanding growth of 42.8%, which boosted monthly arrivals from the region to 47,947. Europe, Africa and the Middle East also showed a solid double-digit increase of 29.6%, which took monthly arrivals from this region to 138,739.

While 175,613 arrivals from South and Southeast Asia represented year-on-year growth of just 1.8%, this partly reflects the very high growth last year resulting in a high base of visitors achieved in August 2004. Modest growth was also seen from the Americas (+7.6%, 118,553), North Asia (+2.6%, 159,990) and Taiwan (+1.5%, 198,992). 

Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) Executive Director Clara Chong noted the exceptional performance of such long-haul markets as Australia, France and Germany, and the continued strong growth from key volume providers including South Korea and the United Kingdom. Its especially noteworthy that weve achieved these increases in what is traditionally a low season for travel from these markets, as we have fewer business visitors. These encouraging figures not only reflect the HKTBs determination to maintain a balanced portfolio of visitors, but also our efforts to attract leisure visitors from long-haul markets with our Hong Kong Shopping Festival promotions, she said.

The excellent results are a reflection of a highly positive perception of Hong Kong in long-haul markets, Ms Chong added. For example, readers of The Guardian and The Observer two of Britains leading upmarket newspapers have chosen Hong Kong as their third favourite overseas city, and the top in Asia, while Australias Luxury Travel magazine rated it fifth in the world and first in Asia. This is a wonderful recognition of Hong Kongs great diversity as a destination and the amazing variety of experiences we offer our visitors.

As for our largest source market, Mainland China, while weve enjoyed phenomenal arrival increases following the progressive implementation of the Individual Visit Scheme [IVS], we recognise the challenges in achieving further growth on our very high consumer base, said Ms Chong. We aim to expand our visitor portfolio by showcasing Hong Kongs new attractions, and developing new promotions and sightseeing packages to broaden Hong Kongs appeal among Mainland consumers beyond shopping and dining.

Analysis by Markets, August and JanuaryAugust 2005

Mainland China provided 1,221,159 arrivals in August, 57.6% of all visitors for the month, which was a 1.4% decrease on the previous year. This brought the cumulative 2005 total from Hong Kongs biggest market to 8,252,026, 2.3% higher than in 2004. Between January and August, the Mainland also accounted for 54.4% of all arrivals to Hong Kong. IVS visitors in August numbered 616,707, 50.5% of all Mainland arrivals, which raised the January-August total to 3.69 million. While this high percentage of IVS arrivals reflects the increased demand for leisure travel during the school holiday period, the exceptionally wet weather in Hong Kong and Southern China exerted a negative pull on holiday traffic, especially from Guangdong province. The slightly lower overall arrivals are also due to the traditional dip in business travel at this time of year.

The 198,992 visitors from Taiwan represented a 1.5% increase over 2004, taking the total for the first eight months of the year to more than 1.41 million, a 3.1% increase. Promotions for the Hong Kong Shopping Festival and travel to Hong Kong from secondary cities yielded positive results among leisure travellers. The encouraging increase in overnight stays among Taiwan arrivals also continued in August, with 33.1% of visitors spending at least one night in the city compared with 31.8% in 2004. This brought the cumulative percentage of overnight visitors from Taiwan between January and August to 28.9%, three percentage points higher than in 2004.

Arrivals from South and Southeast Asia grew by 1.8% to 175,613 in August, a modest increase partially reflecting a tendency throughout the region to defer travel until after the opening of Hong Kong Disneyland. Singapore provided the greatest number of visitors (40,969, +5.4%), encouraged by a range of Hong Kong Shopping Festival packages from wholesalers, as well as attractive airfares from both low-cost and major carriers. Similarly, August arrivals from Thailand grew by 9.3% to 29,347, stimulated by Hong Kong Shopping Festival promotions and special airline packages, while competitive airfares and integrated media promotions also helped to boost travel from India, which increased by 6.1% to 21,097. On the other hand, arrivals from the Philippines declined by 8.7% to 25,474, which reflected the availability of keenly priced airfares to such competing destinations as Bangkok, while those from Malaysia fell by a more modest 2.9%, due to the effect of domestic travel promotions and deferrals in the expectation of attractive September offers. More than 1.48 million visitors from South and Southeast Asia travelled to Hong Kong between January and August, 18.7% more than in 2004.

South Korea continued to provide the impetus to arrivals growth from North Asia, which showed a 2.6% year-on-year increase in August to 159,990. Of these, 61,937 (+17.5%) came from Korea, driven by a wide range of Hong Kong Shopping Festival packages and continued promotional activities. On the other hand, a combination of the beginning of the school year and a three-day traditional festival to pay respects to ancestors resulted in a 5.1% contraction in arrivals from Japan, as many consumers preferred to stay at home. The HKTB is exploring a number of platforms designed to stimulate interest in Hong Kong, especially among younger Japanese consumers. In spite of the continued uncertainty in Japan, cumulative arrivals from North Asia for the first eight months of 2005 stand at more than 1.19 million, a 17.3% year-on-year increase.

The 42.8% growth in August arrivals from Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, which took visitor numbers to 47,947, was the highest regional increase this month. Australia provided 39,951 visitors, a 41.4% growth that was encouraged by promotions for the Hong Kong Shopping Festival, ongoing low airfares and increased passenger capacity on the Sydney-Hong Kong and Sydney-Hong Kong-London routes. Altogether, Hong Kong welcomed 394,403 visitors from Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific between January and August, a year-on-year increase of 33.0% that also makes it the fastest-growing regional source market in 2005. 

Another strong performer was Europe, Africa and the Middle East, with 138,739 visitors, 29.6% higher than in August 2004. While the United Kingdom was the biggest single national market from the region, with 34,031 (+11.6%) visitors, higher growth rates were recorded from France (+23.3%, 18,005) and Germany (+16.1%, 15,158). A number of factors encouraged the solid growth from Europe, including increased passenger capacity from both London and Frankfurt, consumer promotions for the Hong Kong Shopping Festival in the UK and France, and a tactical newspaper campaign in Germany. Cumulative arrivals from this region for the first eight months of the year reached more than 1.08 million, 26.1% higher than in the same period in 2004.

August arrivals from the Americas grew by 7.6% to 118,553. These included 87,455 (+4.3%) visitors from the United States and 23,189 (+5.3%) from Canada, the increases from both markets stimulated by promotional campaigns for the Hong Kong Shopping Festival, as well as additional passenger capacity on air services from Los Angeles. Total arrivals from the Americas between January and August have passed the 1.0 million mark, a 14.1% year-on-year increase.

Same-Day In-Town Visitors

Some 65.8% of all visitors to Hong Kong during August stayed in the city for at least one night, compared with 66.7% during the same month in 2004. The other 34.2%, 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 77.5% of August arrivals from the Americas, 80.4% from Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, and 75.9% from Europe, Africa and the Middle East, while 72.9% of arrivals from South and Southeast Asia were also classified as overnight visitors. In contrast, 33.1% 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 August 2005, 63.3% of all visitors stayed for one night or more, slightly higher than the 63.1% recorded in 2004

Hotel Occupancy

Hotel occupancy across all categories of hotels and tourist guest houses in August was 86%, a four percentage-point drop compared with the 2004 figure that partially reflects the 4.9% increase in Hong Kongs room supply during the past 12 months. The highest tariff hotels averaged 80%, five percentage points lower than in August 2004, while those in the second and third tiers recorded 87% and 89% respectively. Visitors most favoured geographic location in August was Yau Ma Tei/Mong Kok, where hotels recorded an occupancy rate of 90%. The average achieved hotel room rate across all hotel categories and districts was HK$778, 8.4% higher than in August 2004.

The average hotel occupancy for January-August 2005 is 84%, two percentage points lower than in 2004. The average achieved hotel room rate is HK$871, 16.3% higher than in the first eight months of 2004.

See also: Hong Kong Visitor Arrivals for July 2005 

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

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