Mainland Chinese tour groups to Hong Kong plunged 48.8 percent in number from a year ago in March, a travel industry group said Thursday, adding to the concerns of the local retail sector.
Last month, there were 4,789 tour groups from the mainland, according to the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong.
The March figure sent the total in for the first quarter to 11,700 groups, a decline of 59.3 percent compared to the same period last year, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
Meanwhile, the number of mainland tourists to Hong Kong slid 26 percent from a year ago in February to 3.37 million, according to the council.
Anthony Lau, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said new travel rules imposed a year ago on mainlanders has taken a toll on visitor numbers in Hong Kong.
Day-trip tourists have largely shrunk, resulting in lower retail sales, Lau said.
Among other factors, tour groups have been looking at other places in the region due to newly adopted visa-free entry rules there, he said.
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