China Hong KongArrivals in 2018 surpass 65 million, but Chinese economy remains a concern.

Hong Kong booming, but 2019 could be bumpy

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HK Airport190201
Hong Kong arrivals showed a healthy uplift in 2018. Photo Credit: LeeYiuTung/GettyImages
HK Airport190201

“We are expecting this year to be a bumpy and unpredictable year because there are many factors that can affect tourism,” said Anthony Lau Chun-hon, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Hong Kong’s 2018 official stats are out – and it makes for great reading for the Hong Kong government. Total visitor arrivals to Hong Kong were 65,14 million showing an impressive increase on 2017 by 11.4%.

However, the outlook for 2019 is cautious due to the Chinese economy, the strength of the US currency and the competition for Chinese tourists by South-east Asian countries. 

“We are expecting this year to be a bumpy and unpredictable year because there are many factors that can affect tourism,” said Anthony Lau Chun-hon, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

“The mainland Chinese economy has shown signs of a slowdown. That means Chinese tourists could be spending less money when they travel.”

He added that to counteract the lure of South-east Asia, Hong Kong is promoting the Geopark, Lau Fau Shan and Yuen Long’s Ha Pak Nai mudflats for more experiential trips, as well as day tours from Hong Kong to cities in the Greater Bay Area on the new high-speed rail. 

The HKTB is also cashing in on the Instagram and selfie craze by planning a huge 8m-tall “Hong Kong” sign at Salisbury Garden in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Back to 2018, Hong Kong had her neighbour mainland China to thank for the lion’s share of the arrivals with 51,038,230 in total, up 14.8%. Overnight arrivals counted almost 20 million, showing a 7.4% rise year on year.

Short-haul markets excluding mainland China were down with 0.6% fewer arrivals in total at 8,857,525. 

Taiwan tops the leader board at just under two million arrivals, down from 2017. Japan’s 1,287,733 arrivals for 2018 showed an increase of 4.7% year on year. Thailand was also up on 2017 with a 2% increase taking figures to 571,606. South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore were all slightly down, Indonesia was 11.4% lower than last year, and the Philippines was steady.

Long-haul markets were up 2.8% at 4,514,584 with the USA leading the charge at 1,304,232 arrivals in 2018, up 7.3%. Australia, the UK, Canada Germany all saw increases while France arrivals were slightly lower. 

2018 was not such a booming year for the cruise industry out of Hong Kong. There were still 210 cruise ship visits, but fewer than 2017’s 245, and passenger throughput stood at 875,000, but those figures were 3% down year on year.


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