Hong Kong public to continue travel spending in near future

Hong Kong public to continue travel spending in near future

The two public days of ITE&ITE MICE this year, despite the financial crisis and swine flu, drew over 60,000 visitors, up 12 percent. In addition, leading outbound travel agents present at the expo reported good businesses. An onsite survey found around 90 percent of the respondents will increase or maintain their travel spending and frequency in the coming twelve months. These encouraging signs confirm that travel is very much a part of Hong Kong residents’ life style.

Despite a relatively small population of some 7 million, Hong Kong is a leading source market. In 2007, residents of the city spent US$15.1 billion on international tourism, according to figures published by the UNWTO. Hong Kong thus ranked fourth in Asia after mainland China, Japan, and South Korea. Last year, Hong Kong residents made 81.9 million departures, up 1.5 percent, and with 0.55 million arrivals, Hong Kong became Japan’s fifth major source market.

“FIT and theme travels are becoming even more popular, so more exhibitors are using our public days to reach out to these travelers,” said K.S. Tong, managing director of TKS, which organizes ITE&ITE MICE.

As the only travel fair in Hong Kong, ITE&ITE MICE public visitors’ profile offers interesting insights into this important market, especially since many are travel enthusiasts who likely exert strong influences on friends and family members on matters related to travel.

The onsite survey during the two public days this year found visitors are rather well educated, with 34 percent having post-secondary schooling and another 37 percent university qualification or above, with females out-numbering males by almost 2 to 1. Also, they are sophisticated and seasoned travelers, with 74 percent preferring to travel in FIT and tailor-made groups.

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In the past twelve months, 26 percent of them have made three or more overnight leisure trips, 36 percent two such trips, and altogether 89 percent made at least one overnight leisure trip. As for destinations of their last leisure trip, 37 percent went to mainland China and Macau, 34 percent to north and northeast Asia including Taiwan, 15 percent to south and southeast Asia, and 14 percent to long haul, which includes 7 percent to Europe, 3 percent to the Americas, and 2 percent each, respectively, to Middle East and Africa and Oceania.

Their enthusiasms on travel remain strong despite the financial crisis and swine flu. A high percentage of 88 percent of the respondents indicate they will either maintain or spend more on travel in the coming twelve months, and only 7 percent will cut their travel frequency in this period. This perhaps best explains good business for the outbound agents in the expo.

Since last year, TKS - organizer of ITE&ITE MICE - some local associations, and leading outbound agents have been working together to promote businesses during the public days. These include attractive special offers, some of which are only available at the expo, conducting auctions, and launching extra promotions and advertisements in Hong Kong and neighboring cities.