Visitor arrivals to Hong Kong reached 9.7 million in the first quarter of 2011 – a year-on-year growth of 12.6%. For the month of March, arrivals rose 13.9% over the previous year to 3.2 million.
During the first quarter, the mainland Chinese market registered more than two million arrivals each month. This amounted to a total of 6.5 million arrivals in Q1 – 17.5% more than Q1 last year. Of these arrivals, 65.7% (4.3 million) travelled under the Individual Visit Scheme – an increase of 23.0% over the same period last year.
In the short-haul markets, quarterly arrivals rose 3.2% to 1.87 million. While the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) said in a statement that it had only seen a “slight impact” in business travel from Japan following the 11 March disasters, North Asian arrivals declined 11.3% in March 2011, compared to a 4.8% rise for the first quarter.
Visitors from Southeast Asia continued their positive performance, rising 8.6% in Q1, attributed by the HKTB to family vacationers from Malaysia, Singapore and other markets, driven by the school holidays. Visitors from Taiwan however, dropped 5.5%, as the increased number of cross-Strait flights connecting Taiwan with mainland China hit demand for Hong Kong.
In the long-haul markets, there was a 2.9% increase in overall arrivals during the first quarter. The Americas continued to be the best performer, showing growth in every single month and a cumulative increase of 7.8%.
Of the emerging markets, Russia saw the strongest growth rate at 50.7%. In March alone, arrivals rose by 59.3%. From India tourist arrivals rose 5.1% in the first three months while those from the Middle East increased 6.6% in the quarter.