Hong Kong retailers are set for a boost with a rebound expected in the number of tour groups from Mainland China during the Golden Week holiday starting this weekend.
The Hong Kong Inbound Tour Operators Association, which represents 132 companies, estimates a jump of as much as 40 per cent in tour group numbers each day from last year, most of them being from the mainland
“The growth is set to be significant as we pick up and rebound from the bottom,” says chairman Ricky Tse. “With China not encouraging people to visit Japan, Korea and Taiwan, there is more demand for package deals to visit Hong Kong, Macau and other destinations in the region.”
Tse says the volatile situation in North Korea has prompted concern about travel to countries nearby, while less negative news in official mainland media about the political situation in Hong Kong is helping boost inward tourism.
Hong Kong’s retail sales have sagged in the past two years because of the drop in tourist numbers, but picked up in July. Chinese tourism to South Korea has been falling since Seoul let the US install a Thaad missile shield.
Tour groups to Hong Kong have fallen from a peak of about 600 tours a day a few years ago. “We expect we will receive 280 to 300 tours a day this year,” says Tse. “It was 190 to 200 tours a day last year.”
Hong Kong Tourism Board recorded a 2.4 per cent rise in tourist arrivals in July. Mainland visitors, accounting for 78.9 per cent of the total, climbed 3.7 per cent.