HONG KONG — Tourist arrivals hit a record high in Hong Kong in 2011 with nearly 42 million visitors, boosted by a huge increase of people from mainland China, tourism officials said.
The number of holiday makers to the city increased 16.4 percent from 2010 to 41.92 million, with about two-thirds coming from mainland China, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) in a statement late Thursday. Mainland tourist figures jumped 23.9 percent year-on-year, helping to offset a decline of 2.4 percent from Japan following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster. “Looking into 2012, notwithstanding uncertainty in the global economic environment, the HKTB will continue to invest in promotions in different key source markets,” board chairman James Tien said. “We project there will be single-digit growth in visitor arrivals in 2012.” Tourism accounts for about 3.4 percent of Hong Kong’s economy. The former British colony, which was returned to China in 1997 but maintains a semi-autonomous status, is a shopping haven for many of mainland China’s newly-minted who pack the city’s numerous luxury goods stores. However there have been complaints by some tourists that they are strong-armed to go shopping by tour guides who often earn commission from local shops based on how much is spent.