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Travel / Tourism


Hong Kong Outbound Tourism Data




2015 (E)

2016 (E)

Total departures by residents (million)





Departures for the U.S. (‘000)





International Tourism Expenditure of residents (US$ billion)





Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

Hong Kong is unique in the outbound source travel market. It not only has a significant outbound travel market of its own, but also serves as an important platform to tap into China’s and other Asian countries’ growing outbound travel markets. Hong Kong ranked as the fourth largest outbound market in Asia and 14th in the world in terms of international tourism expenditure, according to UNWTO. There are five major reasons behind this occurrence: (1) Hong Kong is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with an overall density of 6,620 people per square kilometer. Since there is also a general lack of local recreational options, Hong Kong people often choose to spend their holidays outside of Hong Kong; (2) Hong Kong people have high spending power. Its GPD per capita ranked the third highest in Asia; (3) Hong Kong’s geographical location and excellent transportation infrastructure allow for relatively easy travel abroad; (4) Most people in Hong Kong speak English and hold the Special Administrative Region (SAR) passport, which does not require visas to visit over 140 countries and regions in the world; and (5) the Hong Kong government controls neither its people nor foreign exchange from leaving the territory. Due to these factors, the number of Hong Kong residents traveling in the region and abroad for business and pleasure continues to rise. However, according to BMI’s outbound tourism data, many of those departures (96.5 percent) are for mainland China, Macau and other nearby Asian destinations, leaving room to promote U.S. tourism.

Hong Kong plays a key role for international tour operators and other businesses seeking to access the soaring Chinese and other Asian countries’ outbound travel market. Hong Kong is strategically located: it is within five hours’ flight from most cities in Asia and is less than two hours’ drive from Southern China. This proximity gives Hong Kong instant access to the affluent consumer market, with 120 million people in southern China alone. Hong Kong's Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) with China gives Hong Kong-based travel companies preferential treatment in China. Hong Kong’s world class integrated transportation infrastructure can better facilitate outbound travel. There are over 100 airlines operating more than 1,000 flights per day to 180 destinations worldwide, including 44 cities in mainland China. Many Asian travelers, especially those from mainland China, choose to transit through Hong Kong.

Sub-Sector Best Prospects

  • Fixed itinerary themed-tours for groups
  • Prepaid package tours for free individual travelers (FIT)
  • Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exhibition (MICE)


Hong Kong citizens tend to travel during public holidays such as Chinese Lunar New Year, Easter, and Christmas because an average worker only has 10-14 days of annual leave. The traveling seasons usually occur around these public holidays as well as the summer holidays. On average, 30 percent of Hong Kong outbound travelers go to the United States during the summer months of June, July, and August. In mainland China, travel peaks during the Golden Weeks, two annual 7-day national holidays. One is the "Spring Festival (or Chinese Lunar New Year) Golden Week" which begins in January or February. The other is the "National Day Golden Week" which begins around October 1.

Various published statistics indicate that Free Independent Travel (FIT) accounts for a significant portion of Hong Kong and mainland China outbound travels. However, travelers from Hong Kong and China prefer to join packaged tours when visiting a new destination for the first time. First-time travelers to a region want to see as many places as possible and cover multiple destinations in one trip. Package tours offer precisely that. Cruises are a popular choice amongst families. Wine country tours have become increasingly popular, especially among the mainland Chinese travel market. Other specialty tours for diving, golfing, horseback riding and skiing have also been quite successful. Shopping is also an important theme for many outbound Hong Kong and mainland tourists. U.S. travel destinations may wish to incorporate shopping into their product offerings.

Web Resources

Trade Shows / Exhibitions / Conferences:

International Travel Expo Hong Kong
Date: June 11-14, 2015
Venue: Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center (HKCEC), Hong Kong
Organizer: TKS Exhibition Services Ltd.
Website: www.itehk.com

China International Travel Mart (CITM) 2015
Date: November 13-15, 2015
Venue: Yunan, China
Organizers: China National Tourism Administration & Shanghai Municipal People’s Government
Website: www.citm.com.cn/english/index.aspx

Guangzhou International Travel Fair
Date: February 25-27, 2016
Venue: Pazhou Exhibition Center, Guangzhou, China
Organizer: Hannover Fairs China Ltd., Guangzhou Office
Website: www.gitf.com.cn

Industry Contacts:

Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong
Website: www.tichk.org

For more information about this industry sector, please contact:

Ms. Kimmy Lee, Commercial Specialist
U. S. Commercial Service Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2521-5950
Fax: (852) 2845-9800
Email: kimmy.lee@trade.gov

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