Hongkongers planning to go on bargain holidays during Lunar New Year will need to fork out an average 9 per cent more than they did last year.
Despite the higher travel cost, the Travel Industry Council is still expecting 5 per cent growth in outbound travel next month.
The council's director, Joseph Tung Yao-chung, said that Singapore, Phuket and Korea are still the most popular destinations for bargain travellers and prices to these places have gone up the most. A four-day tour to Singapore costs HK$6,589, up 29 per cent. The price of a five-day tour to Phuket has climbed 28 per cent to HK$5,999, while a five-day tour to South Korea will cost 25 per cent more at HK$5,499.
"We're optimistic about the business performance of outbound travel during the Lunar New Year. We're expecting growth of 5 per cent," Tung said yesterday.
The council collected HK$1.5 million in levies during the Lunar New Year month of January last year. That will mean Hongkongers spent HK$1 billion on tours that month as all travellers have to pay 0.15 per cent of the tour price as a levy.
Despite tours being more expensive during the festive holidays, Tung believes there will still be growth because fewer people travelled during Christmas and this means they will travel more in the Lunar New Year.
He said there was an 8 per cent drop in outbound travel during Christmas last year and he expects tours to pick up in the Lunar New Year.
Meanwhile, in contrast, the price for luxury tours has dropped by 7 per cent on average.
The decrease is the sharpest for such tours to Beijing and South Korea. A luxury five-day Beijing tour is 64 per cent cheaper at HK$4,989 and 26 per cent lower at HK$10,999 for a five-day tour to South Korea.
"Instead of joining a package tour, rich people these days prefer hiring a tour guide" to take them and their friends around, Tung said.
This lack of demand for high-end travel packages has pushed the prices down.