Hong Kong’s visitor arrivals in March 2009 reached 2,445,289, 1.7% more than in March 2008. This brings cumulative arrivals for the first quarter of 2009 to 7,403,713, 1.8% ahead of the same period last year.Mr James Tien, Chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said, “Our tourism industry has got off to a positive start in the first quarter, driven by the growth of Mainland arrivals. Notwithstanding the slight gain, the tourism outlook remains highly volatile, given the continued impact of the financial crisis and the threat of the swine flu. In view of the uncertainty, the HKTB will stay highly alert to changes in the marketplace. We will review the conditions and performance of the source markets on a quarterly basis, and adjust our investment and strategies when necessary.”
In March 2009, Mainland China was the best performing of all long and short-haul market regions, with arrivals growing by 13.3% to 1,438,182. Cumulatively, Mainland arrivals totalled 4,675,809 in the first quarter of 2009, 12.6% more than for the same period of 2008.
All long-haul regions continued their decline trend from the last quarter of 2008 and registered double-digit decreases, given that consumer confidence remained low due to the economic turmoil.
As for the short-haul regions, all, except Mainland China, registered shortfall in arrivals in the first quarter. In particular, arrivals from North Asia decreased by 20.7%, as a result of the weakened WON currency and poor travel sentiments in South Korea. Arrivals from Taiwan also decreased by 9.2%, as the impact of cross-strait direct links became increasingly apparent.
Overall, some 58.5% of all visitors to Hong Kong in March stayed in the city for at least one night, one percentage point higher than for the same month last year. The remaining 41.5% same-day in-town visitors either returned home or left for another destination on the same day as arrival.