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Hong Kong named the world's most visited city

Latest news on Hong Kong being voted the world’s most travelled city in 2013.

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With a cool 7.16 million inhabitants, spate of global business hubs and booming educational sector, Hong Kong can now add the title of ‘most-visited city’ to its repertoire.  


Hong Kong has been named the world’s most desirable travel destination for international visitors in a new study by market research firm Euromonitor.

Taking into account various travel data including government statistics and airport arrivals, the study compared the world’s top 100 cities for international tourist arrivals.


The study reports Hong Kong to have drawn 23.8 million visitors in 2012 alone, showing a 6.5% increase from the previous year. 63.5% of all 2012 visitors to the city were from mainland China, marking an 11.1% yearly increase in Chinese arrivals.


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The same study in 2009 saw London, Bangkok and Singapore take out the top spots, with Hong Kong coming in at 10th. 20 million arrivals to the fragrant harbour in 2010 however catapulted the city into first place, with the boost in people traffic largely owed to a sharp increase in visitors from China.


In 2013, 54.3 million visitors entered Hong Kong, with 74.1% of them coming from mainland China. Excluding Chinese entries into Hong Kong, the rate of arrival remained flat from 2012 to 2013.


Many Chinese visitors were day-trippers from Hong Kong’s neighbouring province Shenzen, commuting in to take advantage of the price of daily necessities. 50% of Hong Kong’s international guests do not stay the night.


‘There’s a really important difference between a tourist who stays overnight and a day-trip visitor,’ Professor Bob McKercher at the School of Hotel and Tourism Management at Hong Kong Polytechnic University told TimeOut Hong Kong. ‘Overnight visitors are really not much of a problem. They stay in touristy places and do tourist-type things. They can be managed well.’


‘The challenge is the day trippers. They cross over and do shopping or dining and then head back. They are the ones causing the problems now.’


Euromarket has attributed the increase to streamlined visa processes for Chinese visitors, noting that Chinese visits to Paris increased by 16.1% from 2011-2012. In the same year, Chinese tourism increased by 62%.


Following economic downtown caused by the SARS epidemic, the Hong Kong government introduced policies to encourage tourism such as the Individual Visit Scheme, allowing people from Guangdong and other provinces to visit the city without being part of an organized group.


Whilst the boost has seen a strain on the city’s resources, it has also bolstered its profit margins. A Mainland Chinese tourist spends an average of HK$6,000 per day, whilst the total income from day-trippers in 2012 exceeded HK$50 billion.


And that growth doesn’t show signs of slowing anytime soon. A new report by the Tourism Commission has projected that 70 million visitors will enter the city annually by 2017, increasing to 100 million by 2023.  


Six of the top ten most-visited cities were located in Asia, a success attributed to streamlined visa processes for Chinese visitors. 32 out of the 100 cities considered were in Asia Pacific, outstripping those in Western Europe by 12.


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