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 August 07, 2000
HKTA Sets New Forecast Of 12.5 Million Visitors For 2000

 Steady growth in tourism for the first half of 2000 has prompted the Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA) to revise its forecast for the full year to 12.5 million visitor arrivals, a 10.4% increase over 1999.

Latest figures announced today (Monday, 7 August) by the HKTA show that total arrivals for the first six months of 2000 reached 6,186,562, inclusive of non-Macanese visitors arriving from Macau. This is an increase of 15.7% over the same period of 1999. Furthermore, there was noticeable improvement in tourism earnings. Total visitor receipts reached HK$30.1 billion, an increase of 12.4% over the same period last year.

In June growth in visitor arrivals was up 16.3%, to 1,007,626 visitors. For almost every month of 2000 so far, visitor arrivals have consistently reached the one million mark, which augurs well for 2000 as being a year of continuing recovery. The HKTA sees a similar performance pattern for the fourth quarter, traditionally Hong Kongís prime tourism season.

To provide a clear representation of visitor arrivals for 2000, the revised forecast included the some 700,000 non-macanese visitors expected to enter Hong Kong via Macau this year. The same methodology has been applied to the year-end figures for the previous five years (refer to chart) and will be applied to all future forecasts.

This inclusion is in line with recommendations for international visitor statistical information, as outlined by the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Analysis Statistical Division and the World Tourism Organization, which is a practice adopted by destinations around the world.

The strong performance has been supported by the increasing dominance of Hong Kong International Airport as an aviation hub for the region. This has resulted in increasing multi-destination and stopover traffic. Hong Kong, the City of Life, is increasingly regarded as the preferred gateway to Mainland China and Asia.

Hotel occupancy figures for June averaged 80% for all categories of accommodation, compared with 73% a year ago. High tariff hotels reached 79% occupancy, opposed to 67% in June 1999. The average occupancy rate for the first half of 2000 is 82%, up from 77% for the same period of 1999.

Analysis by markets

Hong Kong continues to be ìtop of mindî in Australia, as special deals by airlines and wholesalers heighten awareness and push travel forward in the run-up to the Olympics. This market has shown a remarkable revival, up 26.6% for the month, compared with June 1999.

In the United States, a ìBuy Hong Kong and Get Bangkok Freeî promotion campaign on cable television and radio, a direct mail campaign aimed at seniors, and strong demand for China packages including Hong Kong on the itinerary helped to boost arrivals (+21.6%).

Canadaís 11.5% growth was assisted by the improved utilisation of twice-daily Air Canada services, increased media coverage and availability of products.

The United Kingdom also remains a buoyant market, with an 18.3% increase in visitors compared with June 1999. This reflects a strong economy and Hong Kong being viewed as a destination offering good value for money.

From the region, emerging market India indicated the strongest growth, 43.8%, to total 11,826 arrivals. Traffic from this market to the Chinese mainland via Hong Kong is on the rise as is the choice of Hong Kong as a stopover to other destinations or for multi-destination itineraries. For example, Thai Airways offered very low fares from India, for combined Bangkok/Hong Kong itineraries, which attracted a large number of bookings.

Tactical campaigns with travel agents and a HKTA advertising campaign in South Korea saw arrivals from this market reach 27,427 (+36.4%). The popular ìHong Kong Tobikkiriî tactical campaign and increased business traffic from Tokyo and Nagoya ensured that Japan (110,292, +26.5%) has re-established itself as a major market for Hong Kong.

Mainland China continues to show steady growth (279,273, +19.6%), partly due to the growing number of multi-destination travellers utilising Hong Kong as a stopover. Keen competition among Hong Kong tour operators has also meant that there has been strengthening of the promotion of Hong Kong products in this market.

Many Taiwanese took advantage of the Dragon Boat Festival long weekend holiday in early June to travel to Hong Kong (190,767, +17.4%), bringing forward their plans to avoid increases in airfares in July and August.

For Singapore (47,347, +17.3%), Pearl River Delta packages with China Airlines helped to create new interest and awareness of multi-destination Hong Kong itineraries. The Thailand and Malaysia and the Philippines markets benefited from attractive airfares, packages targeting budget travellers as well as those incorporating shopping/cruise or Hong Kong/Shenzhen programmes.