The Tourism Board and a tour operators' group yesterday dismissed a British newspaper's warning to its readers to shun Hong Kong because of its poor air quality. The board said there was no evidence the heavy pollution put people off coming to the city. The Inbound Travel Association, whose members are benefiting from a surge in visitors from the mainland, said 90 per cent of tourists would not care about the bad air. But its chairman did concede that if pollution got worse, visitors might spend less time in the city. This week's article in The Sunday Times travel section said: 'Air quality [in Hong Kong] is so poor, it poses a health risk.' The newspaper cited a Greenpeace survey that found air pollutants exceeded acceptable European Union limits by as much as 300 per cent. It quoted the environmental group as saying 'the air quality is atrocious' yet 'the public received no official warnings to stay indoors'. A Tourism Board spokeswoman said it was concerned about the recent increase in smoggy days. '[The haze] does lessen visitors' enjoyment of the spectacular views from The Peak and across the harbour. Nevertheless, we recognise that this is an issue that cannot be resolved overnight, and one the government is strongly committed to tackling.' She claimed the situation had been worse than usual this year due to abnormal weather conditions. Inbound Travel Association chairman Paul Leung Yiu-lam said he had not heard of people being put off travelling to Hong Kong by pollution, but said 'it wouldn't surprise me if they decided to shorten their trips when the air quality gets too poor'. Of Hong Kong's 15.54 million visitors last year, 2.2 per cent came from Britain.