HK tourism recovery continues

The dark clouds are lifting from Hong Kong.

Detailed visitor arrivals figures for September 2003 issued by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) show that the destination’s recovery is continuing with positive year-on-year growth achieved for the second month in a row.

Total September arrivals were 1,478,699, the best ever September figure and an increase of 7.9 per cent on the same month in 2002.

The result maintains the momentum generated by the HKTB’s Global Tourism Revival Campaign, which has seen arrivals steadily rebound from the low point of - 67.9 per cent, at the peak of the SARS outbreak in May 2003.

Visitor arrivals from the UK in September totalled 25,333, nearly 5,000 more than the previous month. This represents a shortfall of just 13 per cent on visitor numbers for September 2002 - the smallest monthly shortfall since May.

This continues a marked upward trend in recent months: - 87.4 per cent in May, - 60.8 per cent in June, - 32.2 per cent in July, - 21.4 per cent in August. The HKTB anticipates that UK visitors will return to pre-SARS numbers in early 2004.

“There has already been a great deal of hard work done in getting the recovery underway, and there is still more to do, but the outlook is very positive,” said Kevin Welch, the HKTB’s regional director - Europe, Africa & The Middle East.

“Our hotelier, tour operator and airline partners played a huge role in stimulating business in the immediate post-SARS period, which was followed by the first phase of our recovery campaign - ‘Hong Kong Welcomes You’, which culminated on 17 August with a massive Welcome Day attended by more than 700 trade and media representatives from all over the world.