Tourist arrivals in Hong Kong touch 1.9 million in July

MUMBAI: Hong Kong is the flavour of the season as a tourist destination and the record 1.99-million visitor count the country has recorded for July 2004 underlines the fact. Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has announced that visitor arrivals in July soared to 1,990,705 - the highest ever recorded in a single month.



This is nearly 200,000 more than the previous highest monthly total of 1,792,698 in December 2003 and over 600,000 more than the previous best July figure, recorded in 2002, claimed the board.

According to an official release, this strong performance is especially notable as July has not traditionally been a peak month. Key contributory factors were the appeal of the Hong Kong Shopping Festival and continued growth in individual visitors from Mainland China. The result represents 54.1 per cent growth compared to July 2003, when Hong Kong was starting its recovery from sars, and 45.4 per cent growth in July 2002.



HKTB executive director Chong said that the Hong Kong shopping festival was proving effective in luring more visitors and nearly 2.27 million arrivals had been recorded between the festival's start on 26 June and the end of July. "As the whole of August is still to be added in, we can be confident of exceeding our 3.7-million arrivals target for the full festival period," she said. "Early figures indicate that August will be another very strong month, so it's clear that the efforts we've been making since 2002 to promote summer shopping in Hong Kong are turning the summer months into another peak period for tourism.

"With more than 6,500 shops and restaurants participating citywide, and a strong promotional emphasis being put on late-night shopping, dining and entertainment, the Festival is not only attracting more visitors but is also stimulating their spending and enjoyment," added Chong.



For the first seven months of 2004 to date, total arrivals now stand at 12,003,323, 65.8 per cent ahead of the same period in 2003 and 35.3 per cent ahead of the 2002 figure.

Average occupancy rate across all categories of hotels and tourist guest houses in July was 92 per cent. This is the highest July figure since 1988 and it significantly improves on the 71 per cent recorded in July 2003, when the city's tourism industry was still recovering from the Sars crisis, and 82 per cent in July 2002. Top tariff hotels averaged 86 per cent occupancy while those in the second tier reached 95 per cent.

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