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Hong Kong receives less tourists from Chinese mainland

2015-02-27 09:34 Xinhua Web Editor: Gu Liping

The number of tourists from the Chinese mainland to Hong Kong dropped nearly one percent year on year during the lunar New Year holiday, a rare trend in recent years.

Individual visits from the mainland to Hong Kong fell by about 5 percent during the holiday, according to Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

"Hong Kong receive some 500 tourist groups every day during the lunar New Year holiday in previous years, but only about 350 groups per day this year, " said Joseph Tung, the Executive Director of Hong Kong's Travel Industry Council.

"The drop came as tourists on the mainland have more choices. Many tourism destinations such as Europe and Japan welcome Chinese tourists," said Tung, adding that it is more convenient for Chinese tourists to get visa or book flights to overseas destinations now.

Recent conflicts between a small fraction of local residents and mainland visitors had an effect, Tung said, "but I don't think this small fraction represents the majority of Hong Kong people."

The trend in Macao, China's other special administrative region, is the opposite. The number of tourists from the Chinese mainland to Macao grew 6.7 percent year on year.

The drop in Hong Kong is not related to mainland economic conditions or willingness of travel and the reason behind the drop needs further analysis, said Hong Kong Chief Executive.

Many countries and regions are trying to attract Chinese tourists during the traditional festival. Some hotels in Spain, for example, change menu and offer services in Chinese. In the United States, some hotels organize training for their employees to serve Chinese customers.

Chinese tourists made 5.2 million trips overseas during the holiday week, up 10 percent from a year ago, according to China National Tourism Administration.

As incomes improve and currencies depreciate against the yuan, more tourists are taking their breaks overseas, researcher Zhao Ping of China's Ministry of Commerce said.

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