Hong Kong receives 10% fewer independent Chinese visitors in June
The full impact of the visit pass policy change remains to be seen as independent visitors from China are still traveling on multiple-entry visit pass.
The number of independent visitors from China to Hong Kong fell for the second consecutive month in the first 28 days of June, by 10% y-o-y, following the 5% drop in May, according to Hong Kong’s Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory Leung.
The drop follows the change of visit pass rule for Shenzhen residents, from multiple-entry applicable since 2009 to one trip per week effective since April, due to tensions in Hong Kong caused by parallel traders disruption.
On the other hand, Hong Kong Tourism Board’s statistics show that total visitor arrivals to Hong Kong for the first five months rose 3.9%, and the total number of mainland visitors increased 5.9%. The increase in arrivals from the mainland slowed to only 1% after the visit pass policy change in mid-April.
Mr. Leung said the full impact of the visit pass policy change remains to be seen as many independent visitors from China are still traveling on the old multiple-entry visit pass, although the drop in mainland independent visitors has been steepening in the three months since the adoption of the one-visit-per-week rule.
“The keen competition with tourism destinations in the region also contributes to the decline in mainland visitor numbers to Hong Kong, and Hong Kong must diversify its tourism resources and hold more tourism activities and enrich customer experience to maintain its position as a tourism capital,” he said.
Hui Zhang, dean of the Tourism Management Faculty at Beijing Transport University, said Hong Kong’s appeal to mainland visitors is diminishing as the choices of tourism destination have increased and the mainland has adopted tax rebates policy for shopping.
“While event campaigns may attract some visitors, it’s hard to see any reason for significant growth in the number of mainland tourists to Hong Kong in the long term. Unless the State Government or SAR government takes drastic measures, tourism promotions alone will achieve limited effect,” he added.(Translation by David)