Hong Kong’s tourism industry continued to suffer in July as visitor arrivals deteriorated and hotel revenues dropped, Ming Pao Daily reported on Tuesday.
The number of visitors for the month dropped 8.4 percent to 4.92 million from a year earlier, while overnight visitors were down 11.6 percent at 2.326 million, the first double-digit drop since March, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB).
Overnight visitors from mainland China plunged 14.7 percent year on year to 1.639 million.
Explaining the sharp decrease in the number of tourist arrivals, Travel Industry Council chairman Michael Wu said many travel destinations have loosened their visa restrictions on mainland tourists while currency rates encouraged them to visit other places.
Wu expects a continued decline in the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong.
He said local events such as the Hong Kong Cyclothon may attract more tourists from the eastern China region.
Li Han-cheng, secretary of The Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners, said hotel room rates fell 20 percent on average from a year before, with some hotels experiencing a drop of as much as 30 percent.
The good news is that the lower rates attracted more visitors to stay overnight, boosting the occupancy rate to over 80 percent in July and August.
Meanwhile, the Census and Statistics Department said retail sales were worse than expected, dropping 2.8 percent in July from the previous month.
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