High Costs May Dampen Golden Week Tourism In Hong Kong

    Hong Kong retailers have come to rely on an influx of mainland Chinese tourist-shoppers during Golden Week, the twice-yearly festival.
    Jing DailyAuthor
      Published   in Travel

    Crucial Time For HK Luxury Retailers#

    Hong Kong has been a luxury shopping paradise for mainland visitors

    Hong Kong retailers have come to rely on an influx of mainland Chinese tourist-shoppers during Golden Week, the twice-yearly festival. As Jing Daily wrote last year, Golden Week has become a critical time for high-end brands, auction houses and wine merchants in the city, so retail observers around the world will likely be watching closely. According to estimates by the Hong Kong Tourism Board, about 700,000 mainland visitors are expected to spend in the city this week, an increase of 10 percent from the same period last year. As China Daily writes this week, however, higher accommodation costs may put a crimp on revenue this fall. From China Daily:

    This year's expected 10 percent increase in mainland visitors is only half of last years's 20 percent. And this slowdown is growth has been attributed mainly to the high cost of accommodation, while airfares have remained relatively stable.

    Most hotels in Hong Kong have jacked up their room rates by 40 percent or more in anticipation of the national holiday rush, executive director of the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners' Association Li Hancheng said. The average daily rate for a standard room in a three-star hotel is 1000 yuan, compared with 300 yuan in Shanghai.

    As the article mentioned, in the past, a large proportion of the mainland tourists visiting Hong Kong are from Shanghai, but now more and more Shanghai people choose Tokyo and other major European cities as their shopping heaven. In order to entice more mainland spenders, some countries such as Japan and New Zealand have expedited the process of visa application, and hotels in those countries keep their prices flat during Chinese holidays.

    As the seven-day-long National Day holidays are close to the end, some potential tourists show their interest of visiting Hong Kong after the holiday season since the prices of accommodation will be reduced.

    Hong Kong has been a major luxury destination for mainland visitors, but as a spokesperson from the Ministry of Commerce announced in June, the import luxury duty on the mainland will be cut by 2 percent to 15 percent. If this is true, it may elapse Hong Kong's role as the luxury shopping center to mainland shoppers if they can buy luxury at a lower price at home. So it might be wiser for business people in Hong Kong to think creatively to attract visitors from mainland rather than scare them away by adding extra service premiums.

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