Although Hong Kong recorded a 16. 2 percent year-on-year increase in the number of Chinese mainland visitors on Oct. 1, retailers took a pessimistic view towards their businesses as tourists were less keen on traveling and shopping in the region.
Hong Kong's Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So told the media on Friday that the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong on Oct. 1, when the week-long National Day holiday began, rose 16.2 percent, even though the streets seemed not as crowded as the Golden Week holiday in the past years.
So added the government would not read too much into just a single day's figures and would pay attention to the market and conduct analysis on related data.
People would found it easier to make their way through renowned shopping areas and attractions like Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui, Russell Street in Causeway Bay, and Golden Bauhinia Square, which used to be packed with mainland visitors during Golden Week.
A shop owner of a dispensary in Causeway Bay said he expected the business to drop 30 to 40 percent, comparing with last year and he hoped the government could carry out some measures to mitigate the declining market.
Other tourism-related industries were pessimistic about the market. According to the Hong Kong Travel Industry Council, the average number of package tours from mainland coming to Hong Kong each day during this year's National Day holiday was 260, down from 300 of last year.
Hong Kong Inbound Tour Operators Association said that Hong Kong was not the on the top of the mainland tourists' to-go list. Some of the mainland tourists who are visiting in Hong Kong said they would travel to other destinations like Japan and South Korea for their next vacation, while some looked forward to seeing more new attractions in Hong Kong in near future.
Hong Kong Hotels recorded a decline of occupancy rate and some lowered their room rate trying to boost business. The Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners Executive Director Michael Li said as many mainland visitors who came to Hong Kong through the Individual Visit Scheme would look for hotels when they arrived, he hoped to see a better occupancy rate in the coming days.
Renowned local theme park Hong Kong Ocean Park expected a year- on-year decrease of 10 to 20 percent in the number of visitors during the Golden Week. The park's deputy chief executive Matthias Li Sing-chung said since it was a week-long holiday, mainland people had long enough time to travel to other places like Australia and Europe. He said the not so friendly behavior towards mainland people carried out by some local residents earlier was also to blame.
The Commerce Secretary pointed out that recent protests against mainland people and the depreciation of the RMB have been affecting the visitors' consumption sentiment.
So added that an additional 80 million HK dollars (about 10.32 million U.S. dollars) has been given to the Hong Kong Tourism Board to step up promotion of Hong Kong. (1 U.S. dollar = 7.75 HK dollars)