Hong Kong’s loss is Tokyo’s gain

19 Oct 2015

Angela Skelly, Senior Vice President for Sales, Marketing & Commercial Development, of the travel wholesaler JacTravel, speaking ahead of ITB Asia, has reported that demand for Hong Kong has dropped by 17% as Chinese leisure travellers are shunning the city in favour of alternative destinations, most notably Japan and Korea.

A combination of factors has caused the drop.  First, over recent years, a steady increase in prices has put off visitors from many origin markets and made Hong Kong affordable for only the most affluent Chinese.  Second, with the election to power of Xi Jinping and his clampdown on corruption, incentive travel by senior party officials and by managers of state owned businesses has slowed significantly.  Third, the Province has increasingly focussed its promotional efforts on the mainland and paid less attention elsewhere so when the drop came other markets were not standing by to fill the gap. Fourth, the quality of welcome mainland Chinese have been receiving in Hong Kong has deteriorated.  Chinese visitors have received the message loud and clear and are walking away in droves, with the consequence that Hong Kong’s hotels are not full and its shop-sales are suffering. Hong Kong’s neighbour, Macau, famed for its casinos, is also struggling.

“Hong Kong’s loss is Tokyo’s gain” said Angela. “It, and Seoul too, offer similar value for money and with a fall in the Yen, we are experiencing particularly strong interest in Tokyo – indeed, so much so that we have opened an office there to source good quality hotel accommodation and expand our offer further.”

Speaking further about the Chinese market for outbound travel, Abba Lee, JacTravel’s Regional Head of Contracting, identified an emerging trend towards the creation of bespoke trips to Europe and the USA for affluent families.  “The top end clientele comprises more experienced travellers than ever before” he said.  “They are staying longer and are willing to spend more.  Many are now able to speak English and those that don’t are willing to take their own tour guides with them.  The up-market niche now wants to go to the West.”

JacTravel is confident about the huge opportunities in Asia.  Angela concluded: “Bangkok is already starting to recover after the recent incident, Seoul is recovering post MERS and we also have positive expectations of Beijing and Shanghai. A new Disney attraction will be opening in Shanghai next spring and a new convention centre in Hong Qiao is proving a big draw thanks to a programme of shows and events.”


At ITB Asia, JacTravel’s stand number is Hall F / Stand E5.

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