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Hong Kong greatly benefits from its relationship with China’s booming outbound tourism market, and unexpected events including the Japanese earthquake increased tourism making up for the sluggish European market.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) announced today that total visitor arrivals in 2012 reached 48,615,113, an increase of 16.0% over the 2011 yearly total. Out of the total arrivals, 48.9% or 23.77 million belonged to overnight visitors, 6.5% more than in 2011. Below are the full-year visitor arrivals for various market regions:
2012 vs 2011
Total* 48,615,113 +16.0%
Mainland China 34,911,395 +24.2%
Taiwan 2,088,745 -2.8%
Other Short-haul Markets 6,385,187 +1.0%
Long-haul Markets 4,273,750 -1.4%
New Markets** 956,036 -6.0%
*Total figure includes arrivals from Macau SAR
**New markets include India, the Middle East, the Netherlands, Russia and Vietnam
Visitor arrivals from short-haul markets in 2012 were affected by the fact that many vacationers in the region cancelled their trip to Japan and came to Hong Kong following the 311 earthquake and related incidents in 2011, which resulted in a larger short-haul arrival base in 2011 and in turn caused the growth rate to narrow down in 2012. Nevertheless, solid gain in arrivals was recorded in such markets as South Korea (+5.6%) and the Philippines (+7.6%). As for Taiwan, other than the above-mentioned factor, arrivals from the market were also affected by the impact of cross-strait direct flights, which led to a decrease in business arrivals.
In the long-haul regions, the sluggish performance of the European and American economies caused a slight drop in the number of arrivals. However, the UK achieved year-on-year growth of 5.3%, bringing the country’s yearly arrivals to over 530,000.
Among the new markets, Russia showed the best results, with arrivals up 41.8% to more than 180,000, making the country the fourth largest European source market of Hong Kong, following the UK, France and Germany. As for other new markets, their performances had been affected by varied reasons. For example, in India, the closing down and strike in airlines led to decreased flight capacity between Hong Kong and India and an increase in air fare. Further aggravating the impact was the competitive pricing strategy adopted by regional destinations, which caused Indian arrivals to Hong Kong to decrease during 2012.
Increase in visitor spending
Provisional statistics compiled by the HKTB show that the Total Tourism Expenditure Associated to Inbound Tourism (TEAIT) in 2012 is expected to reach HK$306.5 billion, 16.5% more than in 2011. In addition, the per capita spending of overnight visitors is projected to climb up 4.7% year-on-year to HK$7,819.
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