Mainland Chinese find Hong Kong a shopper’s paradise

Hong Kong – Visitors from mainland China were Hong Kong’s biggest spenders in 2010, running up till receipts of around 7,453 Hong Kong dollars each (958 US dollars), figures released by the Tourism Board Monday showed.

Of the 20 million visitors who stayed overnight in the city, the 11.5 million Chinese spent the most, followed by visitors from Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific who spent around 7,050 Hong Kong dollars each, and then the Europeans, Africans and those from the Middle East who spent 6,674 Hong Kong dollars each.

In total, spending by tourists in Hong Kong reached a record high of 210 billion Hong Kong dollars in 2010, a 32.7-per-cent increase on 2009.

Hong Kong Tourism Board chairman James Tien said expenditure had been boosted by the increase in total visitors which reached 36.03 million in 2010, a rise of 21.8 per cent year-on-year.

‘Looking into 2011, we expect further growth in arrivals to 39.64 million, provided that the global economy remains stable and the mainland maintains its robust economic growth,’ he said.

Of the 36.03 million visitors in 2010, around two-thirds, or 22 million, were mainland Chinese, whose numbers have risen steadily since the easing of cross-border travel restrictions between the city and mainland China from 2003 onwards.

The tourism board said the increased spending by mainland visitors reflected the economic growth of mainland China.

Experts also say high inflation in China and the rising value of the Chinese currency against the Hong Kong dollar, which is pegged to the US dollar, is making a day trip to Hong Kong more cost-effective.

Travel companies in southern Chinese cities have even begun running day shopping trips in which cross-border travellers visit supermarkets and shopping centres to stock up on day-to-day products rather than the more traditional tourist must-haves such as luxury branded goods.

The tourism boards said ready-made clothes were high on the shopping list of the Chinese visitors, with 73.6 and 92.2 per cent of overnight and same-day visitors respectively saying they had purchased these items during their trips.

Other popular items include cosmetics, snacks, shoes, medicine and herbs.


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