Not so Golden Week in Hong Kong

Just two days into Golden Week and Hong Kong’s retail organisation is already proclaiming poor sales this year.

In a single line observation tagged on to a table explaining the official government August retail sales figures, the Hong Kong Retail Management Association said most of its member companies “indicated a single-digit to a low double-digit drop in sales value for 2015 October Golden Week”.

The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Greg So Kam-leung said the number of inbound tourists climbed 3.4 per cent year on year between October 1 and 5, reaching 1 million. Mainland visitors were up 4.3 per cent.

But a share of those were students headed for SAT tests held at the Asia-World Expo last Friday.

As Inside Retail Hong Kong reported yesterday, visitor numbers to Macau had increased creating a surprise, and welcome, boon for the beleaguered gaming industry, and hopefully having a flow on effect for retailers.

Meanwhile, back in Hong Kong, there was a call for a shift of focus by the government in the quest to lure more foreigners into the city.

Michael Li Hon-shing, executive director of the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners, says the tourism industry is “at a crossroads” as mainlanders, who make up 80 per cent of arrivals, are losing interest in the city.

“We should not put all our eggs in one basket,” Li said in a radio show interview.

Li said looking further afield for tourists to boost hotel occupancy and retail spending should be a priority, along with targeting business travellers and exhibitors.

Hotel occupancy during Golden Week was down slightly, but Li said the week was still profitable for the accommodation sector.

But he fears the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge will see many visitors only transit through the city instead of staying overnight.


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