Asia Travel Re: Set – Issue #110: In Summary

Asia Travel Re:Set Issue 110 Cover

Here’s a 60-second speed-read of Asia Travel Re:Set Issue #110 – Hello Hong Kong, It’s Great to Be Back!, published on 21 May 2023.

The last time I departed Hong Kong, it was by train. 

On Saturday 13 April 2019, my high-speed ride eased out of West Kowloon station for the 9-hour journey to Beijing. Until last Sunday, I had not returned. This week, it rained a lot in Hong Kong, but it was great to be back.

Read Asia Travel Re:Set Issue #110 in full HERE

Thirteen months ago, in April 2022, Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General, described Hong Kong as “effectively off the map as a global aviation hub.” Alignment to China’s Zero Covid policy kept quarantine rules in place. Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) was operating at just 3% of pre-pandemic capacity.

Fast forward to mid-May 2023, and the airport is buzzing once again. Rebuilding inbound tourism is vital, as it is one of the four pillars of Hong Kong’s economy – alongside financial services, trading & logistics and professional & producer services.

Coinciding with my visit, Cathay reported its April 2023 figures. Last month, it carried 1.38 million passengers, “an increase of 3,283% compared with April 2022”. Hong Kong International Airport has yet to publish its April figures, but from January-March, it handled 6.99 million passengers (compared to 251,000 in Q1 2022). Without question, Q2 will deliver a major uplift to that total.

On Wednesday, more than 35 flights took off from HKIA to mainland Chinese cities between 11.30-18.15

So how is the city’s visitor recovery shaping up?

Hong Kong received 2.89 million visitors in April. That equates to 58% of the equivalent monthly average from 2017-2019 – which is really not bad at this early stage.

The shape of the 2023 recovery is becoming clearer. From January-April 2023, 77.5% of the 7.3 million varrivals were from mainland China, 13.4% from short-haul markets (mostly South East Asia), and 7.6% from long-haul destinations.

There is, of course, a clear distinction between visitors and tourists – and Hong Kong exemplifies this. It always has counted a broad-based inbound mix – especially from mainland China.

Walking around Central and Kowloon during a non-Golden Week, I’m reminded that mainland Chinese arrive for a multitude of reasons, with tourism being just one them…

Read Asia Travel Re:Set Issue 110 in full HERE

Check out more newsletters here

Share this: