The Hong Kong Tourism Board said they are anticipating 34 million tourists will visit Hong Kong by the end of 2010. Through September, the tourism board had recorded 26 million visitors, at which time they revised their forecast to 31 million visitors for the year, according to the South China Morning Post.
“I guess the annual figure may reach 34 million at the end of this year, as the final quarter is traditionally the busiest season for the travel industry,” said James Lu, executive director of the Hong Kong Hotels Association, dpa reported.
Jason Shum, a committee member of the Hong Kong Association of Travel Agents, said the number of visitors had been “very strong” in recent months because of the improved economy.
“We see strong growth of visitors coming from Southeast Asia, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Indonesia, because the appreciation of their currencies boosted their purchasing power when visiting Hong Kong,” he said.
Lu said hotel room occupancy averaged 85 percent between January and September, compared with 74 percent for the first nine months of 2009, when Hong Kong was still suffering from the economic downturn and the swine flu epidemic.
The Tourism Board said tourist numbers had also been boosted by visitors from mainland China, particularly the border city of Shenzhen.
“Mainland visitors no longer travel to Hong Kong only during peak travel seasons and festive holidays, they also come for consumer-related visits over weekends,” the board said.