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HK receives fewer visitors from mainland   


香港特区行政长官梁振英24日表示,农历新年期间(腊月二十九到正月初四)访港内地旅客人次与去年同期相比微增0.26%。其中,“增长”主要来自过境旅客,即内地居民持护照入港、再从香港国际机场出国,该部分的旅客人次增长超过20%。包括“一签多行”在内的“自由行”(个人游),下跌约5%。 [查看全文]
2015-02-25 08:41 Global Times Web Editor: Qian Ruisha

Yuan appreciation boosts travel to Europe, Japan over Spring Festival

While more mainlanders chose to travel outside of the Chinese mainland during the 2015 Lunar New Year holidays, the number of them deciding to visit Hong Kong dropped for the first time since 2013 after a spate of protests in the city against visitors from the region.

Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Tuesday that the number of mainlanders who are permitted to travel as individual tourists to Hong Kong and visited the region decreased by 5 percent compared to the same period last year while the number of visitors to Macao saw a 6.7 percent year-on-year increase.

Figures issued by the Hong Kong authorities showed that 675,155 mainlanders went to Hong Kong during the first five days of holidays from Wednesday to Sunday, down 0.16 percent from last year.

It was the first time since the individual visit scheme began in 2003 that the number of mainland tourists coming to Hong Kong during the Spring Festival holidays fell, Joseph Tung Yao-chung, head of Hong Kong's Travel Industry Council, told the Global Times.

Tung said that the decrease was due to the fact that some mainland visitors have become worried that they will not be welcomed by Hong Kong natives after a spate of protests against mainland shoppers.

Tensions between Hongkongers and mainlanders have been on the rise over the past few years as local residents accuse visitors of driving up the price of daily essentials by buying up stocks of powdered baby milk formula and other products.

Hundreds of protesters confronted police and Chinese mainland shoppers on February 8 inside a shopping mall in Tuen Mun district.

Another protest is planned for Sunday in the border area of Yuen Long against the multiple-entry arrangement for permanent residents of Shenzhen, the South China Morning Post reported.

Japan and some European countries, whose currencies have depreciated, provide travelers with alternatives to Hong Kong, Tung added.

The Hong Kong-based brokerage firm Credit Lyonnais Securities Asia predicted that Hong Kong is losing its "mojo" and cut its forecasts for tourism arrivals in 2020 due to internal and external factors including infrastructure bottlenecks and the unwelcoming attitude of locals.

The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) rated South Korea, Thailand and Japan as the top three destinations for Chinese tourists for the 2015 Lunar New Year holidays.

The number of Chinese mainland tourists visiting Japan in January increased by 45 percent compared to the previous year to about 226,300, news portal chinanews.com reported.

China's Central Television Station reported that rice cookers and toilet seats with bidet attachments have become must-buy products for Chinese tourists visiting Japan.

Some stores have found these products sold out due to the Chinese tourists.

The at-times-strained relationship between the two countries' governments have not hindered non-governmental exchanges, especially economic connections, Geng Xin, chief researcher of the Japan-based China Studies Think Tank, told the Global Times.

The depreciation of the yen over the last year and more favorable visa and duty policies have made Japan an increasingly attractive destination for Chinese tourists, Geng added.

"Low travel expenses and short travel periods have been major attractions for Chinese visitors to travel to East and Southeast Asian countries during the seven-day holidays," Zhang Yicheng, a tour guide in a Chengdu-based outbound-tour operator, told the Global Times.

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