Fewer mainland tourists visited Hong Kong over the Easter holiday compared to the same period last year, and some luxury-goods retailers who reported sales plunging by more than 20 per cent want the government to act to reverse the trend. According to the Immigration Department website, 447,737 mainland tourists arrived in Hong Kong on the first four days of the Easter break, down 6.6 per cent compared to the four-day Easter holiday last year. This came as Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said yesterday that the recent waves of protests targeting cross-border parallel-goods traders were a significant factor in the decline in tourism numbers. He said this was despite the existence of other factors such as a strong Hong Kong dollar and economic conditions in foreign countries. "One major factor is believed to be the so-called anti-parallel trading protests, which essentially were illegal actions against mainland [Chinese] tourists," he said. "These actions have seriously hurt Hong Kong's image and reputation as a tourist city, internationally and on the mainland." He later called for patience in tackling parallel trading. "We will continue following up with the central government and relevant provincial and municipal authorities," Leung said during a visit to Wuhan . "We shall make an announcement in due course when measures are ready for fine-tuning the [multiple-entry] policy to avoid possible abuse by parallel-goods traders," he said. Prince Jewellery and Watch chairman Jimmy Tang said sales during the Easter and Ching Ming holidays shrank 26 per cent from the same period last year. "It's almost a disaster," he said. The government should tackle the problem caused by the protests, he said, adding that it could consider imposing a departure tax on parallel traders who cross the border several times a day. William Wong Wai-sheung, chairman and chief executive of jewellery chain Luk Fook Group, said the number of shoppers dropped by up to 30 per cent this Easter compared to the same period last year. He hoped there would be consensus about the city's tourism policy. He said some proposals made by lawmakers, such as limiting the number of trips made by holders of multiple-entry permits to 52 a year, could soothe anger about parallel trading without affecting retail sales. Meanwhile, the Quality Tourism Services Association, which promotes quality services in the city, plans to launch a campaign bringing together various discounts offered by retailers. However, the picture was different for shopping malls catering to local shoppers. Sun Hung Kai Properties announced that sales at its nine malls jumped 21 per cent year-on-year to HK$402 million over Easter.