Hong Kong records 54.3 million visitors during 2013

By Ted Chen ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Hong Kong tourism officials yesterday announced that the number of visitors to the special administrative region was tallied at about 54.3 million, up 11.7 percent year-on-year. According to officials, 70 percent of visitors to Hong Kong last year were from China. Officials also asserted that tourism is an important industry for Hong Kong, and that the government intends to exercise sound stewardship in guiding the sustained development of the sector to ensure prosperity. Officials also emphasized that the influx of tourists will not affect the quality of life for Hong Kong citizens.

The Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of Hong Kong (香港商務及經濟發展局) stated that its tourism sector is well-equipped to handle the yearly volume of 70 million tourists expected to visit Hong Kong in 2017. The bureau however, stated that accommodation capacity of hotels may remain tight.

The bureau stressed that as Hong Kong strives to retain its position among the leading free ports of the world, tourism should not be capped by limits.

Currently, tourism accounts for 4.5 percent of Hong Kong’s gross-domestic-product, and provides over 230,000 employment opportunities for its citizens, according to the bureau.

The bureau stated however, as land is scarce in Hong Kong, development of the tourist industry must focus on areas with high value-added attributes, and under the most utmost discretion. In this vein the bureau announced plans to concentrate development of tourism-related infrastructure and attractions, including the forthcoming Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, which will pave the way for numerous hotels and leisure facilities on Lantau Island (大嶼山), the largest island of the Hong Kong special administration region. The bureau stated that it is in the process of drawing up a new proposal for review at the Legislative Council.