Mideast tourism to Hong Kong surges


The Middle East is now Hong Kong's fastest growing tourism source market, according to the Hong Kong Tourist Association (HKTA).

Latest HKTA figures show Middle East tourism arrivals to Hong Kong in 1999 grew by around 30 per cent, compared to the previous year, to reach 62,999.

Hong Kong is now looking to build on the growth trend with a major promotion at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2001.

"We are going to heavily promote our 'Hong Kong City of Life' campaign," said Sue Whitehead, HKTA's area director for northern Europe and Middle East.

"Although actual visitor numbers from the Middle East are still relatively small in global terms, it is the fastest growing region to Hong Kong and therefore a very important market for us."

HKTA says that lower air fares, lower hotel rates and lower retail prices over the past three years have restored Hong Kong's competitive tourism edge.

HKTA is among the official destination organisations registered for ATM 2001.

HKTA has been taking part in the ATM since 1998.

The association will also launch a new product at the ATM called "Hong Kong Is It".

HKTA's marketing officer in Dubai, Sanjay Chudasama, said the ATM gave the association a platform to reach the Middle East trade to promote Hong Kong as a holiday destination in Asia, either alone or in conjunction with other Asian destination.

"The Far East will be strongly represented with Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand having official pavilions and additional representation coming from airlines such as Royal Brunei and independent tour operators", said Matt Thompson, ATM exhibition director.

Vietnam will be represented at ATM with one of its leading tour operators, Exotissimo Travel Vietnam Company Ltd.