Weak pound makes London the No 1 long-haul destination for Hongkongers this Christmas

UK a bargain thanks to sterling slump, while Nordic countries also gain in popularity

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 November, 2016, 6:03pm
UPDATED : Monday, 14 November, 2016, 6:03pm

London is the favourite long-haul destination for Hongkongers this Christmas thanks to the weak pound after the Brexit vote in June, according to online travel company Expedia.

Sales of flights and hotel packages were up 36 per cent compared with the same time last year.

The overall top three travel spots were familiar favourites: Taipei, Tokyo and Seoul. London came in at ninth, the only long-haul destination to make the top 10.

Expedia regional manger for northeast Asia Catherine So said: “Many UK department stores launch Christmas sales. With the pound dropping to a new low this year, many Hongkongers are attracted to do shopping in the country. Adding to that, many top hotels are also offering better deals than previous years, which makes the cost of visiting London during this peak season even lower.”

As of Monday, sterling was trading at around £1 to HK$9.7 – down 18 per cent on a year ago.

Popular places to visit within the UK after London are Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham.

Sydney and Melbourne, always popular with Hongkongers who like to be a little warmer at Christmas, were at No 2 and 3 on the long-haul list.

New favourites this festive season are the Nordic countries. Copenhagen, Stockholm and Helsinki are increasingly popular destinations for Hongkongers, with Expedia recording sales growth this year of 77 per cent, 154 per cent and 108 per cent respectively.

So believed this was due to a 30 per cent drop in the currency exchange rate in these places compared with two years ago and the increasingly popular trend of seeing the Northern Lights.

Flight packages to Paris, fourth on the long-haul list, remained stable, but So said even though the Euro was weaker, tourists’ confidence had not recovered from the terrorist attack in the city last November that left 130 dead.

Sales to Singapore, usually popular in December, were down 33 per cent drop due to fears of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which had been detected in more than 300 people since August.