VISITORS from China will be included in the Hongkong Tourist Association (HKTA) statistics within the next few months, according to association executive director Eugene Sullivan. ''We are currently working together with the Immigration Department on organising a system of making a head count of Chinese visitors arriving in the territory,'' said Mr Sullivan. In the past, mainland visitors were not considered foreign tourists and were therefore excluded from the association's statistics on arrivals and foreign exchange receipts. ''The Chinese visitors were mostly sponsored by Hongkong residents and stayed for a short period,'' he said. ''But the trend has now changed. Research has shown that the Chinese are spending more money on retail outlets and paying for hotel accommodation,'' he said. Figures on tourist arrivals and receipts will rise sharply when the Chinese are included in HKTA statistics. The HKTA is also encouraging investors to pour money into developing hotels in the territory. ''There are no major hotel developments after the end of this year,'' he said. ''The high price of real estate and the cost of construction have been major factors,'' he said. He said that if no new hotels were built, there could be a shortage of rooms in the future. On the future possibility of direct flights between Taiwan and China, Mr Sullivan said the Hongkong market would suffer in the short-term. ''At the same time, this will free some of the slots in the airport which are currently taken up by such flights.'' Mr Sullivan said that even if the Taiwanese were to fly direct to China, they would continue to be the territory's big spenders. ''They may fly directly into China but I believe they will come to the territory on their way home, to shop,'' he said.