Hong Kong tops list of New Year favorites

Updated: 2016-01-05 07:58

By Su Zhouin Beijing and Kahon Chanin Hong Kong(China Daily)

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Visits from the Chinese mainland to Hong Kong grew slightly over the New Year holiday, according to travel agencies.

Tuniu, one of the leading online outbound travel service providers, based in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, said on Sunday that Hong Kong ranked first among overseas tourist destinations, thanks to the efforts made by the region's tourism industry coupled with preferential prices for hotels and airlines.

Lvmama, another online travel service provider, based in Shanghai, saw the same trend. Data provided by Lvmama showed that the visits paid by mainland travelers to Hong Kong and Macao as a package jumped tenfold compared with the same period last year.

"More than 30 percent of mainland tourists chose to spend the New Year holiday overseas, especially neighboring regions and countries," said Wang Xiaosong, chief executive officer of Lvmama.

"The growth in trips to Hong Kong and Macao mainly came from the interest in Hong Kong Disneyland's 10-year anniversary. Fans of Disneyland, especially kids, flooded there during the holiday," Wang said.

For years, Hong Kong was the first choice for outbound mainland tourists. Now it is losing its luster for increasingly affluent and sophisticated mainland tourists to competitors such as South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Europe.

Hong Kong tops list of New Year favorites

Xu Xiaolei, spokesman for China Youth Travel Service, said he saw a slight rebound over the Christmas holiday and expects another rise between 1 percent and 3 percent from the New Year to the Lunar New Year holidays.

However, Xu said, the overall situation remains at a standstill.

The next growth engine may come from individual visitors instead of tour groups, Xu said.

Joseph Tung Yiu-chung, executive director of the Travel Industry Council in Hong Kong, said he has heard that hotel occupancy did well during the New Year holiday, but he understood inbound tourist groups have continued to perform badly compared with individual travelers.

Yan Xin, publicity officer at Ctrip, a leading online travel service provider based in Shanghai, said Hong Kong is no longer on the top 10 list for outbound tour groups, but is still the favorite for individual visitors and shopping-driven travelers.

"Hong Kong tops the most favorite overseas shopping destinations," Yan said. "Paris and Seoul followed as the second and third favorite choices.

"Among travelers who plan their own trips, Hong Kong also ranked first. And this also put Hong Kong as the first choice for overseas hotels."