Hong Kong Visitor Arrivals for March 2006

Travel News Asia Sunday, 30 April 2006

Hong Kong's visitor arrivals in March 2006 passed the 2.1 million mark, a 14.8% increase over the same month in 2005. Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) Executive Director Clara Chong noted that while the figure took the cumulative total for the first three months of 2006 above 6.2 million, 13.8% more than in 2005, we remain cautious, and will continue to track arrival trends and monitor our key markets very closely, she said.

Of March arrivals, 61.2% were classified as overnight visitors, with the remaining 38.8% as same-day arrivals. This high percentage of same-day, in-town visitors reflects both Hong Kongs status as a leading aviation hub in the region and a preference for short consumption visits among increasing numbers of Mainland consumers, many of whom are taking advantage of the ease and flexibility of travel offered by the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS).

Indeed, 455,698 (40.5%) of the 1.12 million March arrivals from the Mainland were same-day visitors, compared with 356,867 (38.3%) in the same month in 2005. From the several permits available for travel to Hong Kong, over 45% (515,792) of Mainland visitors in March opted to travel under the IVS scheme, 28.6% more than last year.

Aside from the Mainland, the best-performing regional markets in March were North Asia, with 15% growth, and South and Southeast Asia, from which visitor numbers grew by 10.3%. While all other regions also showed increases, the relatively soft performance from some key long-haul markets illustrates concerns over avian flu during the winter months that affected forward bookings and hence visitor arrivals in March.

Ms Chong commented that while hotel occupancy can rise above 90% during peak periods, same-day IVS travel offers a perfect opportunity to further grow arrivals and maximise the economic benefits of tourism for Hong Kong. In 2005, same-day IVS visitors from the Mainland spent an average of over HK$1,600, which is considerably more than the overall figure, she said. We will continue to capitalise on this trend by promoting consumption visits from neighbouring cities in Guangdong Province, and further stimulating spending and repeat visits by extensively publicising the convenience of IVS travel and the diverse appeal of Hong Kong.

March 2006 Overall Arrival Statistics

Tourism arrivals to Hong Kong reached 2,102,768 in March, an increase of 14.8% over the 2005 figure. The growth was led by the 1,125,564 arrivals from Mainland China, 20.7% more than in the same month last year.

 Other strong regional performers were North Asia, which grew by 15% to 176,676 arrivals, and South and Southeast Asia, with an increase of 10.3% to 221,975. More modest growth was seen from Europe, Africa and the Middle East (9.2%, 171,266), Taiwan (7.5%, 168,138), the Americas (4%, 148,893) and Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific (3%, 51,419).

March 2006 Arrivals by Markets

Mainland China provided 1,125,564 arrivals in March, 20.7% more than in the same month in 2005. Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) arrivals numbered 515,792, 45.8% of all Mainland visitors and 28.6% more than in the same month in 2005. Cumulative arrivals from the Mainland in January-March reached 3,591,843, an 18.2% increase over the same months in 2005, while the figure for IVS visitors numbered 1,788,147, 31.0% more than in the previous year. 

March arrivals from Taiwan grew by 7.5% to 168,138. This brought the overall total for the first three months of the year to 526,783, a 4.9% increase.

South and Southeast Asian arrivals reached 221,975 in March, 10.3% more than in the previous year, while the cumulative three-month total rose by 8.9% to 543,649. Individual markets that showed the strongest growth in this region were the Philippines (17%), Malaysia (15.2%), Thailand (13.8%) and India (10.8%).

Arrivals from North Asia increased by 15% to 176,676 in March, the result of robust performances by both South Korea (26.8%) and Japan (10.4%). Cumulative arrivals for the January-March period reached 494,297, 7.7% more than in 2005.

Among key long-haul regions, Europe, Africa and The Middle East was the best performer in March, growing by 9.2% to 171,266. Arrivals from the Americas rose by 4% to 148,893, while those from Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific increased by 3% to 51,419. Respective cumulative three-monthly totals for the three regions stood at 425,132 (15.1%), 370,143 (4.9%) and 149,636 (11.4%).

March 2006 Same-Day In-Town Visitors

Some 61.2% of all visitors to Hong Kong in March stayed in the city for at least one night, compared with 62.1% in the same month last year. The remaining 38.8% same-day in-town visitors either returned home or left for another destination on the same day as arrival.

Between January and March 2006, 62.7% of all visitors stayed for one night or more, 0.8 of a percentage point lower than in the first three months of 2005.

March 2006 Hotel Occupancy

Hotel occupancy across all categories of hotels and tourist guesthouses in March was 91%, a 6 percentage-point rise compared with the 2005 figure. The growth was achieved in spite of a 3.8% increase in Hong Kongs hotel room supply during the past 12 months.

Visitors most favoured geographic location in March was Yau Ma Tei/Mong Kok, where hotels recorded an occupancy rate of 94%.

The average achieved hotel room rate across all hotel categories and districts was HK$1,113, 14.8% higher than in March 2005.

The average hotel occupancy for January-March 2006 is 87%, three percentage points higher than in 2005. The average achieved hotel room rate is HK$1,027, 15.2% higher than in the first three months of 2005.

See also: HKTB releases 2005 Visitor Spending and February 2006 Visitor Arrival Figures

See other recent news regarding: Hong Kong, Visitor Arrivals

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