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  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 8:00pm

Golden Week

The Chinese "Golden Week" refers either of the two week-long holidays around National Day on October 1, and the lunar calendar Spring Festival which usually falls in January or February of each year. Tens of millions of Chinese traval by air, train and road to family reunions, vacations or shopping centres during these holidays.  

NewsHong Kong
TOURISM

'Golden week' losing its lustre for Hong Kong businesses

Traditional Labour Day holiday spending spree may be in danger of falling flat, with arrivals by tour groups from mainland down on last year

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 April, 2013, 8:59am

Shops and hotels hoping for a major "golden week" boost were left disappointed yesterday.

The Labour Day holiday got off to a sluggish start, prompting fears that Hong Kong may have lost some of its appeal for free-spending mainland shoppers.

About 270 tours arrived in the city, with 900 more expected before the end of the week.

But Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said the number of tour groups had dropped 15 per cent year-on-year.

The Labour Day holiday is one of the most important of the year for Hong Kong businesses.

The city usually sees an influx of hundreds of thousands of mainland shoppers snapping up everything from luxury flats to gold and expensive watches.

But many in the tourism and retail industry believe the Labour Day holiday has fallen out of fashion. Tung said: "The holiday has not been 'golden' since 2008."

And Michael Li Hon-sing, executive director of the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners, said his industry had suffered a major downturn.

Many visitors are from the second or third-tier mainland cities these days and they tend to spend much less
Hong Kong Retail Management Association president Caroline Mak Shui-king

This was despite many hotels cutting their rates by 10 per cent compared with last year.

The overall occupancy rate remained around 80 per cent, about the same as a year ago.

But Li said this was only because of international exhibitions also taking place in the city.

He described bookings from the mainland as poor and said three-star hotels, where the main source of customers is tour groups, had been particularly hard-hit. Also, the average tourist is not splashing out as much.

Hong Kong Retail Management Association president Caroline Mak Shui-king said: "It's true the sales volume per head [of mainland visitors] is falling.

"Many visitors are from the second or third-tier mainland cities these days and they tend to spend much less." But Mak remained optimistic that overall sales during the holiday would go up by about 10 or 12 per cent.

She added: "The sales agents must just work harder to keep up the sales volume."

While the number of tour groups has dropped, more individual travellers are arriving.

Figures from the Immigration Department showed the number of inbound individual travellers on Sunday jumped about 20 per cent year-on-year.

But individuals tend to be more careful with their cash than those in organised tour groups, where trips to shopping malls are a key part of the itinerary.

The picture is also complicated this year because many mainlanders rushed to Hong Kong to buy gold - traditionally a big item for Labour Day shoppers - two weeks before the holiday.

Stephen Chan, the owner of Perfect Jewellery in Causeway Bay, said his small shop had only four or five customers during the whole of yesterday morning.

He said: "Much of the consumption power was used up in advance. We believe we will see only moderate growth."

He expected sales per customer would drop to around HK$3,000 throughout the week, compared with HK$10,000 per head when the price of gold hit a two-year low two weeks ago.

One mainland tourist, Zhou Xueling, agreed the "golden week" had lost its lustre and said she preferred doing her shopping in Hong Kong on day trips.

"The accommodation is too expensive," she said.

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hard times !
Oh,it is a pity,now our countrymen (not compatriots as used on Mainland) who come here to spend their money are mostly from the 2nd or 3rd tier small cities.Their purchasing power is much weaker than those 1st tier cities like Shanghai or Beijing where their citizens now prefer to go farther---to Europe or even their arch-rival:Japan ! Don't depend too much on Mainland tourists,Hong Kong is an international city which should welcome tourists from all over the world as what we once did before 1997 ! We really miss the good old days---------no democracy but can enjoy freedoms of expression and speech without any disturbances or threats from known sectors ! Right ? But be brace and never give in, dear Hong Kong residents, let us fight to the death for our freedoms and democracy !
pangkf
How happy!! I just want that the mainlanders choose to go to other places in the world instead of Hong Kong. At least our city can become spacious and cleaner!
rease.92
Good. It's time Hong Kong people improved the place for themselves, not for the mainlanders. Hong Kong got big and powerful by manufacturing. Only with manufacturing you can create wealth. Now manufacturing was outsourced to the mainland, but the surrounding wasn't changed.
Goods are carried by lorries, the exhaust fumes kill the local population and increase the health costs.
In addition mainland tourists are carried in by busses, the exhaust fumes kill the local population and increase the health costs.
Lorries and busses are OK for short distance. For mass transit over great distances you need railway. For goods and people.
The container ports need to be connected to the mainland railway network, if you still want to benefit from manufacturing in China and shipping from Hong Kong.
Since only healthy people can work, and you can't ship the elderly and sick elsewhere, you need to focus on health. Air pollution, water pollution, food poisoning, ergonomics, noise pollution, light pollution. For the future you need to focus on better education, and smaller classes. Keep primary age pupils in small village schools instead of carrying them around in polluted city streets, think less in terms of short term, one time profit, and more in terms of children, health, future, family and long term, repeating benefits.
Accumulate your wealth. Build a house and improve it. You won't accumulate wealth by throwing your property away and built it new all the time.
SpeakFreely
Mainlanders are getting global and they have more choices for vacation and shopping. I'm based in Hk 60% of the time but I don't shop in Hk as we are too expensive and crowded.
rease.92
We left Hong Kong. As an engineer I couldn't afford the rent anymore, the restaurants, the chocolate, the food. My boyfriend as a domestic helper, didn't have permission to look for a real job, never would get right of abode, we couldn't get married.

Retail only works as long as customers are coming and have money.
Green engineering could create jobs, reduce operating costs, improve health, cleanup the place, attract green tourists.
Hong Kong chose retail.
We chose Europe.
cfj
What 'Golden Week' ? In Shenzhen some (most?) have only one day off in the middle of the week just as Hong Kong. Colleges and schools may swap weekend days so that, for example, they get Wednesday to Sunday but people will choose to shop either before or after the holiday - the boundary crossing is a nightmare only suitable for parallel traders who seem to hold smart cards for BOTH sides of the crossing. That's life!
waynewing
As long as I remember, 29 April - 1 May 2013 are listed as National Holidays in mainland China, which means you'd have to pay 3 times more to your employers who keep on working during this period. For this, I'd say some (most?) will have at least a 3-day-holiday + weekend
cfj
I think you mean 'employees', but, of course, you are correct, holidays are laid down in Beijing, BUT since when did any employers pay any attention to them? Yeah, the mountains are high .......

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