Hotel Online  Special Report



  Hong Kong Hotel Occupancy for First Eleven Months of 2003
was 68%, Compared with 84% for the Same Period in 2002; Mainland China Visitors a Key to Recovery 


HONG KONG, Jan. 16, 2004 - Hong Kong welcomed over 1.79 million visitor arrivals in December 2003, a growth of 7.4% on the December 2002 figure, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) announced today. This surpasses by nearly 100,000 the previous record for a single month of 1.695 million, set just two months earlier in October 2003.

The December record follows another strong performance in November (for full details, see Appendix), which saw arrivals increase 7.3% to more than 1.68 million.  In total, Hong Kong welcomed nearly 15.54 million arrivals in 2003, a modest 6.2% shortfall on the 16.57 million achieved in 2002 despite the devastating events of SARS on the tourism industry in the second quarter of the year.

HKTB Executive Director Clara Chong said that such a rebound seemed unimaginable back in April and May, when arrivals from some markets were down as much as 90 and average hotel occupancy dipped as low as 18%.  "Between April and July, Hong Kong received 2.34 million fewer visitors than in 2002," she noted, "so it is really quite a remarkable achievement to bounce back to within around one million of the 2002 figure.

"Since we launched our Global Tourism Revival Campaign on June 23, the industry has seen a steady recovery with arrivals regaining positive year-on-year growth by August, then setting new monthly records in October and December," Ms Chong added.  "A comeback of this scale could not have been possible without the tremendous co-operation and support we've received from the Government, our local and overseas trade partners, and the Hong Kong community at large."

Ms Chong said that although some source markets had yet to regain their full pre-SARS levels, the HKTB was confident they would recover strength during the coming year.  "While Mainland China has been a key driver in the recovery so far, the long-haul markets take more time to rebuild, as there is a longer lead time between visitors' decision to come and the actual travel," she explained.  "We will be putting a strong focus on these markets in 2004, in line with our aim of maintaining a balanced portfolio of visitors from all source markets."

November 2003 Summary

Visitor Arrivals

In total, Hong Kong received 1,685,444 arrivals in November 2003, the highest ever November total and a 7.3% increase on the same month in 2002.  Arrivals from Mainland China once again led the way, totalling 930,432, a 33.3% year-on-year increase.  Of these, 165,249 visited under the new individual visa scheme from the 10 cities where it had then come into operation.

Arrivals from India also showed continued steady growth, rising 21.4% to 18,579, while those from Indonesia saw a dramatic 126.6% surge to 30,239, much of the growth coming in the final two weeks of November following the end of Ramadan, which fell in early December the previous year.  Elsewhere, however, the recovery is taking more time to take root, with most markets remaining in negative year-on-year growth.

Cumulatively, arrivals for the first 11 months of 2003 totalled 13,744,141, a 7.7% decrease compared with the same period in 2002.  Arrivals from the Mainland, however, showed 22.6% growth at 7.45 million.  This includes 438,478 arrivals under the individual scheme between its launch on 28 July and the end of November.

Same-Day Visitors

In November 2003, 36.0% of all visitors continued to other destinations on the same day as arrival, compared with 35.0% for the same month in 2002.  This trend is due to Hong Kong's growing importance as a major regional air hub and the significant number of visitors, especially business people from Taiwan, who continue by land or sea to/from other places in Southern China.  (Note: These figures only include travellers who pass through Hong Kong Immigration, not those who are solely transit passengers.)

In November, only 21.7% of all Taiwan visitors stayed for one night or longer.  In contrast, 78.9% of visitors from Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific stayed for at least one night, as did 79.6% of those from The Americas, 75.2% from South & Southeast Asia and 72.7% from Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

For the first eleven months of 2003, 61.9% of all visitors stayed for one night or longer, compared with 64.3% who did so in the same period in 2002.

Hotel Occupancy

Average occupancy rate across all categories of hotels and tourist guest houses in November reached 92%, the same as for November 2002.  While the strong performance was reflected across all different tariff categories and all locations, those in the medium tariff category did especially well, averaging 95%.  Meanwhile those hotels on Hong Kong Island outside the main districts of Central, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay achieved 97% occupancy.  These hotels are especially popular with Mainland tour groups.

Nevertheless, the average achieved room rate across all hotels softened to HK$748 (US$96), 2.6% lower than in November 2002.

Cumulatively, occupancy for the first eleven months of 2003 was 68%, compared with 84% for the same period in 2002, primarily due to the severe impact of SARS on the hotel industry in April, May and June, when average occupancy dropped to as low as 18%.  The average achieved hotel room rate was HK$672 (US$87), a 5.6% year-on-year decrease.

Hong Kong Tourism Board
Also See: Hong Kong April Arrival Figures Confirm Severity of Tourism Downturn; Major Hong Kong Hotels Average 14% Occupancy Compared with 81% a Year Earlier / June 2003

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