China Travel International Investment Hong Kong, a unit of state-owned China National Travel Service (HK) Group Corp, recorded mixed performance in the first three months of this year under the weight of a global tourism downturn, a senior official says. Executive director and standing deputy general manager Xu Muhan saw some improvement during the quarter when air ticket sales of the group's online travel website, Mangocity.com, rose 50 per cent year on year. However, the performance of its tour services in several mainland regions remained lacklustre. 'The economic outlook is very obscure, we don't know when the financial crisis will bottom out,' Mr Xu said yesterday. 'We have seen the World Tourism Organisation's pessimistic forecast on global travel and the central government's warning of a quieter market, but we hope for the best.' Preliminary figures show that the number of foreign visitors to the country was down as much as 30 per cent in recent months. Mr Xu spoke a day after the group revealed a 72.44 per cent drop in profit from continuing operations to HK$172.66 million last year. Mr Xu blamed the poorer performance partly on the snowstorms, the Sichuan earthquake and the global financial downturn. Net profit declined 16.2 per cent to HK$531.3 million after including a HK$428.13 million gain from asset disposals last year. Revenue was barely changed at HK$4.38 billion. The final dividend was cut 66.66 per cent to 1 HK cent a share, leaving the full-year payout unchanged at 6HK cents. With a war chest of about HK$1.8 billion, China Travel was seeking to buy travel-related assets, Mr Xu said. However, he said there was no specific target now and declined to elaborate.