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Visitor arrivals to rise 8% in HK in 2008
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Hong Kong Tourism Board said in Hong Kong on Monday that it expects Hong Kong's visitor arrivals to surge 8 percent to 30.43 million in 2008.


The board also predicted spending related to inbound tourism forecast will rise 10.7 percent against last year to 152.7 billion Hong Kong dollars (1.96 billion U.S. dollars).


Outlining its 2008-09 work plan in the Legislative Council on Monday, the board said the projected growth rate is higher than World Tourism Organization's forecast that international travel will rise 5 percent in 2008, and above the Pacific Asia Travel Association's estimate Asia Pacific arrivals will see lower but stable growth of 6.2 percent.


Among the projected visitor arrivals, those from the Chinese mainland will account for 16.8 million, up 8.3 percent on a year earlier, while those from other places will grow 7.7 percent to 13.7 million.


Looking ahead the board is cautiously optimistic on the outlook for the tourism industry with due regard to favorable exchange rates, increased flight capacity, continuous expansion of the Chinese mainland outbound travel market and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.


There are also potential risks too, including the slowing down of world travel due to uncertainties in the US economy, stiff competition from neighboring destinations, and increased air connectivity between the Chinese mainland and other gateways, the board said.


The board said it will use the Beijing Olympics to reinforce Hong Kong's image and reputation, promoting it as a "must-stop" city on the China itinerary. Giant Olympic rings will be installed along the harbor front while an Olympic piazza will be erected at the Cultural Center.


(Xinhua News Agency January 29, 2008)

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