Tourism leaders say they are not worried that Hong Kong could lose its position as the preferred gateway to the world for mainland travellers. But they said that Hong Kong should start concentrating on the quality, rather than the quantity, of visitors. Their comments follow a report by Xinhua on Wednesday which found 70 per cent of outbound travellers from Guangzhou now preferred not to stop over in Hong Kong on visits overseas. Instead, many now take direct flights from Guangzhou's Baiyun International Airport. Up to last year, most travellers from Guangzhou travelled to Hong Kong by train to tour the city before catching flights to other destinations. The report said Hong Kong had gradually fallen out of favour because it lacked novelty and the price of flights from Guangzhou had become cheaper. About two million mainland transit visitors came to Hong Kong last year, according to official figures. The Xinhua report said about half of the outbound mainland travellers were from Guangdong. However, tourism leaders in Hong Kong are not panicking over Guangzhou's rise in popularity. 'The fast improving mainland aviation industry has posed some challenges to us, but in the long term Hong Kong's role as the travel hub in the region will remain,' said Paul Leung Kin-hang, assistant professor of the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at Polytechnic University. 'We have more routes and provide better services. With the mainland market getting more sophisticated, travellers will value convenience and better services more than price.' Professor Leung said that Hong Kong should not try to attract everyone. He said it should be more selective about its visitors and focus more on the high-yield markets. 'It won't be harmful if we lose some customers as long as we get compensation from elsewhere. Given the huge population of the mainland, I'm not worried about the number of arrivals,' he said. Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung agreed. 'The cake is becoming bigger and travellers from northern provinces still like Hong Kong more. I don't see it as a big problem,' he said.