Economic recovery and growing consumer confidence have resulted in a busier summer for the tourism industry, with 8.06 million people leaving Hong Kong last month. The figure represents a 20 per cent increase compared with 6.7 million in the same month last year. The number of outbound travellers to the mainland last month was about 6.36 million, which grew year on year by 19.5 per cent. Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yao-chung said improved consumer sentiment in the high travel season was reflected in agencies' sales turnover, which grew by 15.8 per cent to $900 million last month, still slightly lower than the pre-Sars level. The highest July turnover in the past four years was $1 billion in 2001. 'However, this sales figure does not fully represent the outbound travel flow because tour packages are cheaper this year,' he said. 'But at the same time, perhaps due to the economic recovery, travel agencies are selling a small portion of higher-priced tours.'