Date
26 September 2017
Mainland tourists line up to buy handbags in Hong Kong. The city is facing a challenge as wealthy Chinese are increasingly looking at other destinations. Photo: HKEJ
Mainland tourists line up to buy handbags in Hong Kong. The city is facing a challenge as wealthy Chinese are increasingly looking at other destinations. Photo: HKEJ

HK needs more hotel rooms, cultural events to lift tourism: CLSA

Hong Kong should allocate more land for 4- and 5-star hotels, encourage diversity of shopping and offer more shows and cultural events to lure wealthier people from the mainland, who are increasingly looking at other destinations, says Aaron Fischer, head of Consumer and Gaming Research at CLSA.

Wealthy Chinese have begun to set their sights beyond Hong Kong, Fischer said, citing a recent survey of about 400 mid-class experienced mainland tourists.

“Chinese travelers are much more adventurous than the Japanese,” the CLSA analyst said on Tuesday. The mainlanders learn about luxury products and exotic attractions much faster than expected and are now quickly moving toward less-traveled destinations elsewhere, Fischer said.

He expects the next wave of tourists to Hong Kong to be lower spending ones.

Inadequate hotel rooms is a major bottleneck for the industry. Hong Kong’s hotel occupancy rate was 93 in 2013, highest among major global cities. The supply of 4- and 5-star hotels is still very limited in the city, Fischer noted.

In addition, lack of iconic development and tourism activities, especially by the waterfront, on the island is another big issue. The government has been slow in improving the tourist infrastructure of the city, with key attractions continuing to be the mega shopping malls, the Peak and Repulse Bay.

Meanwhile, aggressive efforts by authorities in places such as Singapore and Macau to lure more tourists have only added to the problem for Hong Kong.

CLSA also identified the frosty attitude of some Hong Kong citizens towards visitors and the recent Occupy Central protests as factors that could affect Hong Kong’s tourist arrival growth in future.

The brokerage expects China’s total outbound tourists to number 200 million a year by 2020, but Hong Kong is expected to draw in only 52.3 million of those travelers. The estimate for Hong Kong marks a 10 percent cut from a previous forecast made by CLSA for 58.3 million mainland visitors by the end of this decade.

Mainland visitor numbers to Hong Kong are expected to rise 4 percent annually over the period to 2020, compared with 11 percent rise in overall outbound Chinese tourists.

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MY/JP/RC

EJ Insight reporter

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