Mainland China was the growth engine of arrivals to Hong Kong in the first three quarters of this year, as driven by strong travel and consumption sentiments among the Chinese consumers.

Cumulatively, arrivals from the market surged by 23.6% to exceed 20 million in January-September 2011. Among these, 65.1% or around 13.27 million came under the Individual Visit Scheme, a 29.2% year-on-year increase.

In September alone, Mainland arrivals went up by 28.8% to surpass 2 million, with many Mainland visitors, especially those from South China, came and joined the Mid-Autumn celebrations in Hong Kong.

Arrivals from the Southeast Asian market also grew steadily in the first three quarters, with approximately 2.26 million arrivals recorded, 9.7% more than the same period of 2010.

Benefitting from economic stability and high travel propensity, double-digit growth was achieved by Indonesia (+17.1%), Malaysia (+12.8%), Singapore (+12.7%) and Thailand (+11.9%) during the first nine months, and by the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand in September.

In North Asia, while the 311 earthquake and related incidents have impacted Japanese arrivals in the first nine months, total arrivals from the region registered an increase of 3.2% to nearly 1.7 million, contributed by the sturdy growth of the South Korean market.

In fact, arrivals from South Korea surged by 15.8% to 764,710 during the period, although its arrivals dropped slightly by 2.7% after the peak summer season in September.

Moving to Taiwan, notwithstanding the effect of cross-strait direct flights, arrivals in the first three quarters remained at a similar level as in the same period last year.

In particular, overnight arrivals increased by 9.5% to over 600,000, or 36.8% of all Taiwanese arrivals in the period, and went up by 8.2% in September, underlying the upward trend of overnight vacationers from Taiwan to Hong Kong.

Further in the long-haul markets, the cumulative arrivals were 2.0% higher year-on-year.

The best performer was the Americas (+4.1%), whereas arrivals from Europe, Africa and the Middle East, as well as Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific were more or less the same as last year.