Hong Kong visitor arrivals surge 7.6 percent in November

Hong Kong visitor arrivals surge 7.6 percent in NovemberHong Kong, Dec 26 - Hong Kong visitor arrivals surged 7.6 percent year-on-year in November, thanks partly to moves allowing more mainland Chinese into the former British colony, officials said Saturday.

The city of seven million welcomed 2.6 million visitors in November, with a 13.3 percent rise in arrivals from mainland China compared to the same month in 2008.

The healthy figures put Hong Kong on course to come close to 2008's record year-end total of 30 million visitors, despite the global slump which has hit tourism hard.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong Tourism Board said mainland Chinese visitors to the city rose because of measures allowing more people from the border city of Shenzhen in China to make multiple visits.

Over the same period, smaller markets grew strongly with visitors from Russia up nearly 40 percent, visitors from the Middle East up 42.4 percent and visitors from India up 28.5 percent.

Visitor arrivals for the first 11 months of the year were down 0.7 percent compared to 2008. The Hong Kong Tourism Board earlier in 2009 predicted a 1.6 percent year-on-year drop in arrivals. (IANS)