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Visitor arrivals to HK fall 2.9 pct in August
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Global economic downturn and the Chinese mainland's adjustment in visa policy has led to a 2.9 percent decrease of visitor arrivals to Hong Kong in August, the Tourism Board's latest statistics revealed Monday.

Visitor arrivals to Hong Kong fell 2.9 percent year on year in August to 2.68 million, bringing the cumulative visitor arrivals in the metropolis for the year's first eight months to 19.6 million, up 7.3 percent over the same period last year.

Drops in visitor arrivals were recorded in all long- and short-haul market regions except the Chinese mainland, mainly due to a combination of factors in the macro environment like the economic downturn and the adjustment in visa policy by the Chinese mainland, according to the Tourism Board.

Visitor arrivals from Europe, Africa and the Middle East fell most by 20.5 percent year on year while those from the Americas were down by 15.8 percent.

Visitors from Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific weakened 15.7 percent while those from South and Southeast Asia, North Asia were down 13.6 percent and 2.9 percent respectively.

Visitors from the Chinese mainland was the only market that grew, up 0.8 percent to 1,699,309, among whom 63.5 percent were under the Individual Visit Scheme.

According to the Tourism Board, about 60.4 percent of visitors stayed in the city for at least one night, 4.2 percentage points lower than the same month last year.

Hotel occupancy across all categories of hotels in August was 85 percent, six percentage points lower than a year earlier. The average achieved hotel room rate was 1,107 HK dollars (about 142 U. S. dollars), 6.2 percent higher than August last year.

(Xinhua News Agency September 30, 2008)

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