Hong Kong's tourism market recorded an above 16% increase in the number of inbound tourists last year

Press Release   •   Jun 19, 2013 10:21 BST

The Hong Kong tourism market has recovered after a brief decline due to the financial downturn in 2009, with international arrivals to the country registering healthy growth between 2008 and 2012.

Hong Kong has a modern and well-developed transport infrastructure. The country's ports provide a natural hub for shipping to and from Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

The tourism industry has been an important part of the economy of Hong Kong since it shifted to a service sector model in the late 1980s and early 90s. There has been a sharp increase of tourists from Mainland China, due to the introduction of the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) in 2003.

Tourism has a significant impact on the country's economy. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), tourism contributed 18.5% to the country's GDP and accounted for 16.2% of the total employment in 2012.

In 2011, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) launched the promotional campaign 'Asia's World City' to create more awareness of Hong Kong as an attractive tourist destination.

Hong Kong's tourism sector is more dependent on international arrivals and the region's domestic tourist flows are very low compared to inbound tourist volumes.

The main reason behind the low volume of domestic tourism is the small size of the population and geographical area. In 2012, Hong Kong registered 841,332 domestic trips, while inbound trips totalled 23.8 million.

The number of international tourists rose by 3.8% worldwide last year, with Hong Kong recording an above 16 percent increase in the number of inbound tourists, more than 70 percent of them from the mainland.

The statistics from the World Tourism Organization are both exciting and worrying. On the positive side, the surge in tourists has brought enormous economic benefits to the HKSAR, boosting the local economy to a large extent. The retail sector, in particular, has benefited a lot from the tourism boom.

Since tourism requires a lot of low-skilled labour, the sector has created many low-end jobs that have helped to lower the unemployment rate. Given the fact that nearly half of the city's workforce have only high-school education or below, tourism has played a key role in easing the unemployment problem.

For more information on Hong Kong's tourism market, see the latest research: Hong Kong Tourism Market

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