Mainland visitors tipped to take a breather

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 January, 2012, 12:00am


The growth in the number of mainland tourists visiting Hong Kong is likely to slow after years of dramatic increases, the head of the Travel Industry Council says.

Joseph Tung Yao-chung, the council's executive director, said the slowing mainland economy meant the numbers would likely slow after a 16.5 per cent increase to 28 million last year.

Last week's Lunar New Year holiday saw the number of mainland visitors grow 3 to 4 per cent from last year, although the number of foreign visitors for the holiday was down by 2 to 3 per cent.

The number of mainland tour groups rose 1.5 per cent.

'We are concerned about the slight drop in foreign visitors,' Tung said.

'We have to pay attention to this because Hong Kong is an international city, so no matter what, we hope for more foreign visitors.'

The number of Hongkongers travelling abroad for a Lunar New Year break fell about 1 per cent, which Tung attributed to the fact that the holiday came less than a month after the Christmas break.

The Travel Industry Council received seven complaints from visitors during the holiday, Tung said, one of which was about the attitude of a tour guide.

The council also inspected 48 stores that cater heavily to tourists, and were satisfied with their services.

Tung said the total number of visitors to Hong Kong had increased to 42 million last year, up from 36 million in 2010.

He expects overall visitor numbers to rise by between five and 10 per cent this year.