Hong Kong Predicts Numbers Drop

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The Hong Kong Tourism Board expects tourist arrivals to fall 1.6 percent in 2009 to 29 million, down from a record 29.5 million last year. Significant factors contributing to the gloomy prediction include the global economic downturn, the introduction of direct flights between Taiwan and China and the strength of the U.S. dollar, to which Hong Kong's currency is pegged. While Hong Kong predicts a 4.1 percent growth in visitors from mainland China, they expect a 9.2 percent drop in visitors from other countries. The tourism board also forecasts overnight per capita spending in 2009 will decline by 1.5 percent, a real blow to one of the shopping capitals of the world.

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