Hong Kong travellers made 2.7 million more trips to the mainland last year than in 2001, but they spent 5 per cent less, according to the government's annual survey of cross-border consumption. Hongkongers made 38.4 million trips over the border for holidays and to visit friends and relatives last year - 7.6 per cent more than the 35.7 million journeys in 2001. But the amount they spend on the other side of the border has been falling for the past three years. They shelled out $26.3 billion on goods and services last year, down 5 per cent from $27.6 billion the year before, which itself was 6 per cent lower than the $29.3 billion spent in 2001. Cross-border travel has been growing in recent years because of more efficient travel links between Hong Kong and Guangdong. But while places such as Shenzhen are becoming more popular shopping destinations, the lacklustre performance of Hong Kong's economy dampened spending. 'The economy in general was not doing well last year,' said Kevin Lai, economist at National Australia Bank. 'Basically, households cut their spending.' Deflation may also account in part for the lower spending. A government spokeswoman said the price of goods in Guangdong, the destination for 94 per cent of all Hong Kong travellers on personal trips, fell 1.5 per cent last year. Travellers spent an average of $690 per trip, down from $770 the year before and $870 in 2000. Aside from transport and hotels, they also spent money on services such as golf course fees, karaoke, amusement parks and massages, the government said. Popular purchases were tea, cigarettes, herbal medicine, clothes, shoes and books. In all, personal trips accounted for two-thirds of the 55.6 million trips by Hong Kong residents to the mainland last year, with business travellers making up the rest. About one in 10 personal trips were made as part of a package tour.