According to the provisional statistics of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, in August 2008, visitor arrivals in Hong Kong reached about 2.67 million, 90,000 less than the same period of last year — a decrease of 3% year-on-year.
This is the first August to show a decrease in the number of tourists visiting to Hong Kong since 2003. The number of overseas visitors went down by 8.4% to about one million; and the number of visitors from mainland China was 1,677,000, a slight increase of 1%.
HKTB executive director Anthony Lau said that the decrease in long-haul markets is due to the tightening of visa policies by mainland China and rising fuel prices, also some tourists visited Hong Kong in July — earlier than normal. As a result, the number of tourists to Hong Kong in July increased by over 10% to 2.7 million, which was higher than expected.