In Brief

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 March, 2009, 12:00am

Number of visitors in February down 8.1pc from a year ago

Hong Kong received almost 200,000 fewer visitors last month than in February last year, Tourism Board figures show. Visitor arrivals last month totalled 2,162,325, down 8.1 per cent year on year, although the total for the first two months of this year was up 1.8 per cent at 4,958,424. Almost all markets suffered declines except for Japan, up 15.7 per cent, as well as Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, India and South Africa. The number of mainland visitors, who account for most of Hong Kong's arrivals, shrank 6.7 per cent to 1,345,291. The Tourism Board blamed the shortfall on a slowdown in travel by mainland visitors following the Lunar New Year holiday in January. The global downturn also continued to weigh heavily on long-haul markets.

Marriott hotel asks staff to take unpaid leave

Staff at the JW Marriott hotel in Admiralty have been asked to take between one and four days' leave a month without pay. The move was widely expected given the impact of the global downturn on the hotel and tourism industries. Five-star hotels like the JW Marriott have been hit especially hard by the credit crunch as business travellers cut back on their expenses. Less pricey hotels have managed to weather the downturn better because of continued business from mainland tour groups. A hotel spokesman could not be reached for comment.

Producers of fakes could make more amid slump, seminar told

Counterfeiters who have made China the world's factory for fake products could step up their activities as a result of the economic turmoil, French Chamber of Commerce president Xavier Jacquermain told an intellectual property seminar. He said he believed consumers were more willing to buy the cheaper fake goods and local governments might be reluctant to stop factories from producing more because of the risk of job losses. He also said copyright breaches had spread from luxury goods to wine and other products.