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Hong Kong Golden Week: Chinese tourist arrivals up, spending down


Initial reports from Golden Week in Hong Kong point to a stronger Chinese tourism performance than last year, but Chinese holidaymakers are spending less and staying shorter amounts of time than in previous years.

According to statistics quoted by the South China Morning Post, Chinese tourism to Hong Kong saw a boost of 3.6 percent the first three days of China’s Golden Week holiday compared to the same period last year.

This represents a mildly positive trend break from 2015, which was widely quoted as the “worst ever Golden Week” by Hong Kong tourism stakeholders, and was the first time since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis that Chinese tourism to Hong Kong shrank.

SEE ALSO: China’s Golden Week in four key charts 

However, this year is setting the stage for a more in-depth discussion about how Hong Kong can cash in on Chinese tourists, with modest growth in Chinese visitors, but a continued drop in retail spending among them.

Hong Kong’s role as many Chinese travelers’ first “overseas” destination is still important, but as international travel is becoming more of a middle-class product than a luxury product for China’s urban consumers, being the destination of choice for first-time travelers is not as profitable as it used to be.

Nevertheless, Hong Kong remains the foremost destination for Chinese travelers with 45.8 million arrivals in 2015 a figure that other destinations can only dream of, and representing more than a third of all Chinese overseas visits.

At the same time, the Hong Kong Tourism Board reports that average spending is down from HK$9,000 (US$1,160) in 2014 to HK$7,105 (US$916) in the first half of 2016.

Further, Hong Kong is struggling with shorter periods of stay among its Chinese visitors who are increasingly treating the SAR as a few-day destination. The average length of stay among all visitors was 3.3 nights in 2015 according to the Hong Kong Tourism Bureau.

(Source: Jing Daily)