Hong Kong 2003
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Travel and Tourism
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Total visitor numbers have risen by 38 per cent since 1997, an increase largely attributable to the surge in visitor arrivals from the Mainland. These have soared from 2.36 million in 1997 to 8.47 million in 2003, making the Mainland Hong Kong's largest source market. To maintain and further enhance Hong Kong's position as the premier city tourist destination in Asia, the Government is committed to enhancing tourist attractions and facilities, upgrading service standards, promoting a hospitable culture in the community and facilitating the entry of visitors. It will continue to work closely with the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the trade to promote tourism development.

TOURISM is one of the major economic pillars of Hong Kong: the most popular city destination in Asia.

After a record-breaking 16.5 million arrivals in 2002, the tourism industry performed well in the first two months of 2003. Unfortunately, with the SARS outbreak in March, visitor arrivals fell dramatically to a new low of only 427 254 in May, a decrease of 68 per cent compared with May 2002. At the same time, the hotel occupancy rate fell from an average of 84 per cent in 2002 to 18 per cent.

With the lifting of the World Health Organisation's travel advisory concerning Hong Kong on May 23, the tourism sector rebounded quickly. From a 68 per cent year-on-year decline in May, arrivals reached almost 10 per cent year-on-year growth by August. The growth momentum was sustained in the last quarter of the year. Overall visitor arrivals for 2003 totalled 15.5 million, a moderate decrease of 6 per cent compared with the previous year but still representing a remarkable achievement when set against the challenges that arose around the middle of the year. Hotel occupancy also climbed to 85 per cent in October and to over 90 per cent in November. The rebound was mainly due to the success of the Global Tourism Revival Campaign spearheaded by the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) as well as by a significant growth in visitor arrivals from the Mainland. Long-haul markets are gradually recovering and the outlook for 2004 is positive.

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