China’s total international visitor arrivals (excludin g Hong Kong and Macau) continued to decline in the third quarter of 2013, mainly attributable to heavy air pollution in Beijing and Shanghai and the economic climate. Although the 4.0% YOY decline was milder than that of the previous quarter, it was still steeper than figures for the first quarter. It was not only the poor air quality that negatively affected travel to China, but also the appreciation of the Chinese currency against the US dollar. While visitors from Macau remained flat, the Hong Kong market declined by 5.0% in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
All top five markets recorded negative growth rates; Japan continued to record the biggest drop of 20.5% YOY, largely due to the territorial dispute over Diaoyou Islands (known in Japan as Senkaku Islands) and air pollution. Unlike in Macau and Hong Kong, where the Russian market continued to grow at double-digit rates, visitor arrivals from Russia fell by 15.6% YOY in China in the third quarter of 2013. The USA, Taiwan and South Korea recorded YOY declines of 2.5%, 1.5% and 0.5%, respectively. Among other markets, North Korea continued to expand by 14.0%, while India recorded growth of 9.5% YOY. Among long-haul markets, visitor arrivals from the Americas continued to decrease, with the exception of Mexico, which grew by 5.6% YOY.
Among European markets, all the major ones contracted apart from UK, yet growth remained limited at 0.7%. In particular, Italy, Germany and France registered YOY declines of 2.8%, 3.5%, and 4.3%, respectively.
Hong Kong received 14.5 million visitors in the third quarter of 2013, reflecting an 11.1% year-on-year (YOY) growth from 2012. Mainland China continued to be the largest source market, accounting for 77.8% of visitor arrivals (11.3 million), up 15.8% YOY. Russia posted the highest YOY growth of 22.0% among source markets, aided by increasing numbers of outbound Russian travellers with higher disposable incomes and a relatively stable economy. However, apart from mainland China, the number of visitors from all top five source markets fell, with South Korea and Japan posting the biggest declines of 20.8% and 14.2%, respectively.
Visitor arrivals to Macau rose to 7.8 million in the third quarter of 2013, representing an increase of 6.6% YOY. Mainland China continued to drive the market, posting 16% YOY growth and accounting for 64.9% of total visitor arrivals. Visitors from elsewhere in Asia-Pacific fell except for mainland China and South Korea; the latter market posted 6.8% YOY growth due to the increased popularity of value- based package tours.
The third quarter of 2013 saw 14% YOY growth in total visitor arrivals to 2 million, due to a 21.3% increase in tourists from mainland China, as well as 13.7% growth in tourists from Hong Kong and Macau. Mainland China continued to dominate the market, accounting for 38.1% of total visitor arrivals, followed by Japan, which accounted for 17.6% though the market remained flat.
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