More tourists, but fewer big spenders

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, 12:00am

660,000 holiday visitors forecast despite uncertainty

Hong Kong received a record 21.8 million visitors last year, a rise of 40 per cent from 2003.

Tourism officials announcing the figures yesterday said there would be further growth in the next 12 months.

Spending by tourists also rose last year, but the Hong Kong Tourism Board said the average spending of each visitor declined from $5,500 in 2003 because solo mainland travellers were spending less after repeated shopping trips to Hong Kong.

The board is cautiously optimistic about the number of visitor arrivals this year after the Asian tsunami on Boxing Day.

'There are still many uncertainties ... the number of tourists from India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand may go down, but the effect is still minor,' said the board's executive director Clara Chong Ming-wah.

'But we remain optimistic because many new tourist spots will open this year, such as Disneyland, the cable car in Tung Chung and the wetland park in Tin Shui Wai.'

She said about 660,000 visitors were expected to arrive during the Lunar New Year holiday next month, 7 per cent more than last year.

The board will stage a night parade on Hong Kong Island for the first time during the holiday, featuring 12 floats.

Last year the parade was held in Tsim Sha Tsui.

About 300,000 spectators are expected to watch the parade. It will start at 8pm on February 9, the first day of the Year of the Rooster, at the Tamar site in Admiralty. Tickets, priced at $200, will be on sale from today at visitor information centres in Central and in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The parade will proceed along Lung Wui Road, Fenwick Pier Street, Convention Avenue, Fleming Road and Harbour Road.