Figures released by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) show that visitor arrivals to Hong Kong reached 3,357,960 in April 2011, a 20.1%-increase compared to the same month last year. For the first four months combined, total arrivals stood at 13,065,931, 14.4% ahead of the figure last year.
In April, visitor arrivals from Mainland China continued the upward trend, rising by 28.7% to surpass 2.13 million. The majority of the visitors remained those travelling under the Individual Visit Scheme, who accounted for 1.35 million or 63.2% of all Mainland arrivals, a year-on-year increase of 41.9%. Those travelling with tour group visa also grew by 21.1% to exceed 270,000, or 12.9% of the monthly total from the market.
Growth was also observed in the short-haul markets, with total arrivals increased by 6.4% to over 680,000. In North Asia (Japan and South Korea), notwithstanding the 11 March earthquake and its aftermath, the decline in arrivals was less than 1% (-0.8%), as business travel from Japan remained unimpaired. Meanwhile, a strong travel sentiment prevailed in South Korea, powered by vigorous promotion of Hong Kong tour products by the local travel trade in collaboration with the HKTB. In April alone, South Korean arrivals went up by 13.8%.
In Southeast Asia, arrivals grew steadily by 7.9%, with Singapore being the best performer. Factors such as the increased Hong Kong-Singapore flights, enhanced promotion of Hong Kong tour products and a strong Singaporean dollar against the Hong Kong dollar combined to lift arrivals from the country by nearly 20%.
Taiwan also showed satisfactory performance in April, with arrivals growing by 10.3% to almost 200,000. In particular, overnight arrivals surged by 42.3% to 73,093. This could be attributed to the launch of vacation packages that are even more competitively priced by the Taiwanese travel trade following the Japanese earthquake, supported by promotions by the HKTB.
For the long-haul markets, arrivals rose by 7.1% to surpass 460,000. In particular, arrivals from Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific, as well as Europe, Africa and the Middle East climbed up by 9.4% and 8.4% respectively, as boosted by increased business visits from these regions for MICE activities in Hong Kong.
As for the emerging markets, Russia continued to take the lead with a growth rate of 73% in April, as led by the continuous robust economy of the country, which has encouraged outbound travel. In the Middle East, as political instability gradually spread to the Gulf Cooperation Council region, arrivals from the market dropped by 7.7% during the month.
Overnight Visitors vs. Same-Day, in-Town Visitors
In April 2011, overnight arrivals reached 1.79 million, representing 53.3% of all visitors to Hong Kong and a 13.4%-increase over last year. Same-day visitors also rose by 28.7% to 1.56 million.
Cumulatively, overnight arrivals increased by 7.6% to 6.9 million or 52.9% of all visitors to Hong Kong, whereas same-day visitors went up by 23.1% to 6.15 million.