The number of cross-border visitors to Hong Kong is set to exceed six million this year, thanks to the scrapping from January 1 of the daily quota on mainland Chinese who can enter the SAR. Last year, 3.58 million mainland visitors arrived in Hong Kong, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board. The board says that between January and October, 5.37 million mainland visitors arrived in Hong Kong, up 49.9 per cent from a year ago. Mainlanders accounted for 40 per cent of the total 13.32 million visitor arrivals as at October. The Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung attributed the robust growth to the strength of China's economy and an increase in the number of holidays given to mainland workers. He predicted the number of mainland visitors would jump 30 per cent during the Christmas period from last year. 'Other markets remain stagnant as a result of the depressed economy, particularly long-haul travel,' he said. Visitors from the United States increased 4.9 per cent to 824,640 and Canada edged up 4.6 per cent to 212,107 for the first 10 months this year, the tourism board said. However, the outbound market recorded slow sales because of prolonged deflation, he said. Travel agencies had reduced holiday package prices by about 10 per cent to 15 per cent from last year, he added. According to Immigration Department figures, Hong Kong residents made more than 53.6 million trips out of the SAR between January and October, up 6.3 per cent from a year ago. Of that figure, more than 46.1 million trips were made to the mainland.