Mainland Chinese visitor spending to exceed HK$2 billion in Hong Kong during Labour Day ‘golden week’ break, tourism chief says

Mainland Chinese visitor spending is expected to exceed HK$2 billion in Hong Kong during the Labour Day “golden week” break as arrival numbers fall in line with original estimates despite the recent stormy weather, the tourism chief has said.

Secretary for Culture, Sports and Tourism Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said on Sunday about 670,000 mainlanders crossed into the city between Wednesday and Saturday last week, the first four days of the break which runs from May 1 to 5 on the mainland.

“It is close to our expectation of 800,000 mainland tourists. Considering the weather in Hong Kong, we have done a great job,” Yeung told a radio show, noting the impact from the heavy rainfall on both sides of the border might have delayed some travellers.

He said the final figure could exceed 700,000, as more tourists might come on Sunday amid improving weather on the final day of the break.

“I believe they will spend over HK$2 billion in Hong Kong … It will bring some help to our economy,” he said.

Yeung added that the government had estimated spending of HK$2.3 billion for its original expectation of 800,000 mainland travellers.

Immigration figures showed mainlanders made 113,797 inbound trips to the city on Saturday, part of the group’s 669,117 arrivals between May 1 and 4.

One of the major initiatives to welcome the visitors, a fireworks display in Victoria Harbour on Wednesday, earlier drew criticism from some internet users.

The Tourism Board, which organised the HK$1 million (US$128,000) show, confirmed in the afternoon on that day that the fireworks display would go ahead after warnings from the government that poor weather might force it to be cancelled.

Tourists flock to the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront amid wet weather earlier in the “golden week” holiday. Photo: Jelly Tse

Some tourists still expressed dissatisfaction on mainland social media platform Xiaohongshu, saying they could only see thick clouds of smoke.

Tourism minister Yeung said on Sunday he also saw a lot of smoke and failed to see the letters “HK” emblazoned in the sky, one of the elements promoted ahead of the show.

He said the display faced a lot of difficulties as the weather was hard to predict and the government had to consider a number of factors, noting he understood that the public had hoped the arrangement could have been finalised as soon as possible.

The city will host monthly pyrotechnics and drone shows as part of initiatives to lure and entertain visitors.

Yeung said the government would learn lessons from the recent performance, including for the drone show taking place on the coming Saturday.

“We will explain clearly in our promotion and manage expectations better,” he said.

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