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New markets excel and cruise prospects shine for HK

October 9, 2013 Destination Global, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Hong Kong received a total of 25.36 million visitor arrivals in the first half of 2013, up 13.6% from the corresponding period in 2012.

Some 12 million visitor overnights were spent in Hong Kong between January and June this year, representing an 8.7% year-on-year increase, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has announced.

While overnight arrivals from mainland China grew 16.2% to top 7.8 million, however, arrivals from long-haul markets, under the impact of volatile economic conditions,  declined over the same period, including a fall in overnight arrivals from Australia of 5%, to 234,520.250x250

Overall, there was a 4.1% decrease in overnight long-haul arrivals to Hong Kong.

Other long-haul markets to show declines in the period were: the US -7.4% (392,385); Canada -11.5% (121,146), Britain -4% (216,288); France -1.4% (77,283); Germany -4.9% (76,329). To turn this around, the HKTB will is conducting joint promotions with the trade to boost long-haul arrivals. It will participate in large-scale trade shows in various visitor source markets, including the World Travel Market in London in November.

New markets look very promising for Hong Kong. Overnight arrivals from new markets grew 7.2%, mainly because of increased flight capacity. Of these, Russia’s robust growth is particularly notable, with overnight arrivals up 24.6% and overall arrivals rising 26.3% to about 120,000, making Russia Hong Kong’s second biggest European market, just after Britain.

Visitors arrivals in Hong Kong from India grew +1.7% to reach 149,947. Other new markets included Gulf Co-operation Council (including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) +11.3% (17,915); and Vietnam +13.8 (35,085).

The HKTB has lined up major overseas promotions for the second half of 2013. It will launch a series of market promotions to further attract overnight visitors and open up new visitor sources. In short-haul markets, during major promotional periods, such as the “Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival” and “Hong Kong WinterFest”, the HKTB plans to launch special tourism products to encourage visitors to extend their stay in Hong Kong.

Initiatives in new markets include:

India: Riding on a novel recently published in partnership with a popular young Indian writer, the HKTB is going to organise a contest with the help of a film school in India to produce short films based on the novel, which is set in Hong Kong.

Russia: After launching the first travel guide on Hong Kong in Russian, the HKTB will actively promote Hong Kong as the preferred travel destination for a winter getaway, a popular travel season for Russian holidaymakers.

The Middle East: Following the publication of an Arabic travel guide on Hong Kong targeting family visitors, the HKTB will continue to maintain Hong Kong’s presence in the Middle East by organising a consumer promotion at a large shopping mall in Dubai.

Additionally, the HKTB will attend Cruise Shipping Pacific in Singapore in October to showcase Hong Kong’s competitive edge in the cruise industry. Together with the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, the HKTB has come to an agreement with Royal Caribbean International, which will deploy the cruise ship Mariner of the Seas to Hong Kong and Taiwan on 29 October and 2 November, with Hong Kong as the home port.

The HKTB will continue to maintain close working relationships with regional port authorities to promote the development of regional cruise tourism and encourage international cruise companies to develop itineraries featuring Hong Kong.

In the first half of the year, overnight arrivals from Mainland China reached 7.84 million, 16.2% more than in the same period in 2012. According to an HKTB survey, the number of overnight Mainland visitors who came to Hong Kong for vacation grew 19.4%, with growth from both Guangdong Province (+20.7%) and non-Guangdong areas (+18.5%).

In the same period, short-haul arrivals to Hong Kong dropped 4.2% year-on-year, since Japan drew away many regional travellers with its weak YEN. By market, overnight arrivals from Japan fell 29.1%. Taiwan, however, registered a 4.1% increase in overnight arrivals, which could be attributed to the free, online, pre-arrival, visa-registration service offered to Taiwan residents by the Hong Kong SAR Government. Also, direct cross-strait flights diverted business travellers, leaving more available airline seats for vacation travellers from Taiwan. In addition, overnight arrivals from Thailand rose 15.0%.

Written by : Peter Needham

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