Retail sales in Hong Kong rose for the first time in six months in August, climbing 1.2
per cent year-on-year. The Chinese government’s decision in late July to lift a ban on individual
travel to the SAR was cited as a significant factor in the upturn.
Consumer spending was up by more than a quarter during the week-long National
Day holiday in China, according to Ministry of Commerce figures. Retail sales rose 28 per
in Beijing and 18 per cent in Shanghai.
Hong Kong is to raise its departure tax from HK$80 (US$10) to HK$120 from January 9.
Cathay Pacific Airways has won approval to resume flights between Hong Kong and Beijing.
The SAR’s main carrier said it would operate three round trips a week, starting December
2. The mainland and Hong Kong governments are still in talks on possible Cathay flights
to Shanghai and Xiamen.
Singapore Airlines is to start a three-times-a-week service to Shenzhen from January 16.
The carrier also said that all its services to the mainland had been restored to pre-Sars levels.
InterContinental Hotels plans to open two Holiday Inn Express hotels in Shanghai and
Beijing over the next two years, joining the likes of Accor and Western Express that are
expanding their budget brand properties on the mainland. China’s budget hotel sector is
growing strongly as a result of increasing domestic travel.
China Southern Airlines has launched a once-a-week service between Beijing and
Dubai. The Boeing 757 service includes a stopover at Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang
autonomous region. It will also introduce a fourth weekly flight between Sydney and
Guangzhou between December 13 and February 7.
Australia is the foreign destination that most Chinese want to visit, according to a survey
by the Australian Tourist Commission. Preferred to France and the US,Australia is regarded
as a safe, welcoming and vibrant country by many of those polled in Beijing and Shanghai.
As Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts prepares to open a new hotel school in Beijing, the
group has confirmed that three of its 16 mainland properties are now managed by Chinese
nationals. The properties are located in the cities of Changchun, Nanjing and Qingdao.