Home' A Plus Magazine : Dec 2012 Contents December 2012 37
maintain a diversified visitor portfolio, in
order to cope with changes in the macro-
economic environment and to reduce the
impact of market fluctuation," a Hong Kong
Tourism Board spokesman tells A Plus.
However, industry executives cite the con-
tinuing surge of Mainland tourists under the
Individual Visit Scheme, which began in 2003,
as evidence that a significant policy change is
unlikely. "The Individual Visit Scheme has
been running for the past nine years and that
trend is not going to be stopped," says Philips
Ng, finance manager of Hong Kong Airlines
and an Institute member.
Hong Kong Airlines, which flies mainly to
Mainland destinations, but also to Taiwan,
Japan, Thailand and Indonesia, hopes to
bring tourists to Hong Kong from more in-
land Mainland cities such as Lanzhou, Xi'an,
Chengdu, Kunming and Guiyang.
Such second-tier cities are an important
emerging consumer segment for Hong Kong
airlines. "Most airlines are developing their
western China market, which has nearly 400
million people," says Ng.
While Guangdong is the most popular
source of Mainland tourists to Hong Kong,
followed by visitors from the other tier-one
metropolitan centres of Beijing and Shanghai,
travellers from smaller cities, such as Peng,
the Sasa shopper from Changchun, are in-
creasingly common -- and welcome.
"Non-tier-one city visitors are outstrip-
ping the growth of tier-one city visitors,"
says Oliver Rust, managing director of mar-
ket research company Nielsen Hong Kong.
"Visitors from non-tier-one cities place more
emphasis on customer ser vice, price and
MacCharles at Deloitte says the profile of
the Mainland tourist has changed dramati-
cally over the years. "They're not necessarily
staying three to a room and eating instant
noodles for every meal," he says. "They
have more of a midmarket or premium pro-
file, and that follows through to dining and
transport. They spend more on the experi-
ence, not just the goods."
Such consumers may still be drawn
to bargains, however, such as budget air-
lines. Hong Kong Express, a sister carrier to
Hong Kong Airlines is being transformed
into a low-cost carrier. (Both are owned by
HNA Group, the parent company of Hainan
"They're not necessarily staying three
to a room and eating instant noodles
for every meal... They have more of a
midmarket or premium profile, and that
follows through to dining and transport.
They spend more on the experience, not
just the goods."
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