13th February 2024 – (Hong Kong) Timothy Chui, the Executive Director of the Hong Kong Tourism Association, highlighted the city’s enduring appeal for its “eat, shop, play” experience, as traditional festive events continue to draw visitors. According to Chui, the daily influx of approximately 200 mainland tour groups signifies a recovery to two-thirds of the pre-pandemic figures, with a notable spike in arrivals coinciding with the fireworks display and other mega events on the second day of the Lunar New Year.
The allure of Hong Kong’s festive calendar, with its vibrant tapestry of cultural and culinary experiences, has proven to be a significant draw for tourists, particularly from the mainland, seeking the full-fledged “Pearl of the Orient” experience. Despite the lingering shadows of the pandemic, the city’s tourism heartbeat shows signs of robust revival.
The hotel industry, a key indicator of tourism health, has seen a remarkable occupancy rate of over 90% during the Lunar New Year period, with some of the more budget-friendly establishments reaching full capacity. This surge in demand reflects a cautious but tangible optimism, as the sector adapts to a new equilibrium of travel norms and expectations.
Further insights were provided by Lee Ka-long, the founding president of the Hong Kong Tourist Guesthouse United Association, who also appeared on the same radio programme. He reported that guesthouse occupancy rates during the Lunar New Year were comparable to pre-pandemic levels, ranging between 90% to 95%. Notably, room rates have remained around 30% lower than pre-pandemic prices, offering a more economical option for travellers. Approximately 70% of the guests were from mainland China, followed by visitors from Southeast Asia.
Lee underscored the importance of festive events and the introduction of new ‘photo-worthy spots’ across various districts, which have played a pivotal role in attracting tourists. The strategy of enhancing the city’s photogenic appeal aligns with the global trend of travel for social media clout, offering visitors not just memories but shareable moments.