Hotel Online Special Report

Visitor Numbers to Hong Kong, Hotel Occupancy Continue Strong Growth
HONG KONG - April 20, 1999--The steady growth in the number of visitors to Hong Kong continued for the ninth consecutive month in March, with longhaul markets joining the strong recovery recorded from Asian markets. Figures released by the Hong Kong Tourist Association show March arrivals -- at 861,347 -- were 12.4% higher than March 1998.

Cumulative arrivals for the January-March period rose by 13.4%over the first quarter of 1998 to a total of 2.5 million.

Notable year-on-year increases in March among the longhaul markets included a 16.5% boost in arrivals from the USA and 15.4% from Canada. Healthy economies and special packages offered by the trade were contributory factors.

Most European markets also recorded increases, notably the Netherlands (up by 18.2%) and France (up 13.9%). The Nordic countries recorded an increase of 10.6% in arrivals, which could be attributed to a surge in travelers in advance of SAS' decision to cease flying to
Hong Kong. The number of visitors from Italy was up by 7.9% as travelers took advantage of attractive packages.

Keen competition from destinations in the region was the main reason for the decline in arrivals recorded by New Zealand (down 37.9%), the UK (down 6.5%) and Germany (down 3.4%). Strong growth was also seen from the shorthaul markets; Japan continued its recovery
with 28.1% more visitors than in March 1998. This came against the background of an improving economy and stable currency.

Countries most affected by the economic turmoil last year are also showing strong revivals. Arrivals from Indonesia surged by 113.5% in March, those from Thailand rose by 93.0%, from South Korea by 53.4%, from the Philippines by 37.8% and from Malaysia by 24.0%.

Hong Kong's two biggest source markets, Mainland China and Taiwan, both recorded growth of 7.5% in March.

India, one of the new markets that HKTA is pursuing, contributed 36.4% more visitors as increases in domestic air fares made overseas travel more attractive.

Over the January-March period as a whole, arrivals were up from most markets, with increases ranging from 90.3% (Indonesia) to 0.7% (Australia).

The average hotel room occupancy rate in March this year was 81%, up from 73% in March last year. The rate for the first quarter was 78%, compared with 70% last year. The average hotel room rate achieved in March was HK$663 (US$85.00), a 27.5% drop compared with March last year.

Mrs. Amy Chan, Executive Director of the HKTA, said, "The continued recovery in visitor arrivals and hotel occupancy is most encouraging, and is a reflection of the tremendous efforts all sectors of the tourism industry have been making to keep Hong Kong competitive. The HKTA's City of Life marketing campaign is also reaping dividends, and we are confident that our new Discover HK initiative will provide more reasons for people to visit the city."

Our New York office has moved to 115 East 54th Street, 2/F, New York, NY 10022-4512. tel: 212-421-3382, fax: 212-421-8428

Hong Kong Tourist Association
Lillibeth Bishop / Diana Budiman
tel: 310-208-4582 / 212-421-3382 x 234
Also See: Hong Kong's Average Hotel Occupancy Rate for December 1998 was 81%, Up from just 69% in December 1997 / Jan 1999 

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