Hong Kong arrivals up 20% year-on-year in April, says Tourism Board – but figures still lag behind pre-pandemic era

Hong Kong welcomed almost 3.4 million visitors in April, according to provisional figures from the Tourism Board. Though it represents a 17.3 per cent increase in visitors compared to last April, the number of arrivals still lags behind the figures seen before the city enacted prolonged Covid-19 travel restrictions in 2020.

Mainland tourists in Hong Kong on April 11, 2024. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.
Mainland tourists in Hong Kong on April 11, 2024. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

The city saw 3,391,381 visitors in 2024, the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) said in a Tuesday press release – 73.23 per cent of which were from the mainland.

See also: Hong Kong faces uphill battle to lure back Chinese tourists after pandemic and protests

“For short-haul markets, driven by the end of Ramadan, visitor arrivals from Indonesia increased by more than 80% from the same period of 2023,” the HKTB said. “In terms of long-haul markets such as the US and Canada, visitor arrivals also increased by more than 80% year on year.”

Compared to April 2018, visitor arrivals are down 36 per cent, or 39 per cent compared to April 2019.

See also: Mainland Chinese tourists use social media to search for memorable Hong Kong locations

Hong Kong has been struggling to win back tourists since all Covid-related travel curbs were lifted early last year. The pace of international tourist arrivals to Hong Kong has resumed at a much slower rate than that of mainland Chinese tourists.

Travellers in the Hong Kong International Airport. Photo: GovHK.Travellers in the Hong Kong International Airport. Photo: GovHK.
Travellers in the Hong Kong International Airport. Photo: GovHK.

According to the 2024 budget figures, overnight visitors stayed an average of 3.6 nights last year but are expected to stay just 3.2 nights this year. Inbound tourism expenditure is expected to increase by 16.5 per cent this year, from HK$177.9 billion to HK$207.3 billion.

Beijing announced on Saturday the expansion of the Individual Visit Scheme to cover remote cities in China, including Urumqi in Xinjiang, Lhasa in Tibet, and Hohhot in Inner Mongolia – the second time in three months that the scheme had been widened. The move will allow more citizens to visit the city without joining a group tour.

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Tom GrundyTom Grundy

Tom founded Hong Kong Free Press in 2015 and is the editor-in-chief. In addition to editing, he is responsible for managing the newsroom and company – including fundraising, recruitment and overseeing HKFP’s web presence and ethical guidelines.

He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He previously led an NGO advocating for domestic worker rights, and has contributed to the BBC, Deutsche Welle, Al-Jazeera and others.

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