Hong Kong Sevens provides major tourism boost

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The annual Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament is a key visitor draw for the city, leading to a surge in long-haul tourist arrivals, a new study has shown.

Spain play South Africa on Day 1 of the 2011 Cathay Pacific / Credit Suisse Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, Hong Kong Stadium. Photo by The Power of Sport Images for HKRFU
Spain play South Africa on Day 1 of the 2011 HK Sevens (photo by The Power of Sport Images for HKRFU)

A report by Amadeus, created in conjunction with market research company Forward Data SL, found that the Hong Kong Sevens draws the biggest influx of long-haul travellers into Hong Kong for a single event. Based on annual bookings data from 2009 to 2012, long-haul arrivals into the city during Sevens week are surpassed only by those during Easter week and the popular October–November tourist season.

Analysing global air reservations in the lead-up to this year’s Hong Kong Sevens period, Amadeus found that booking levels are marginally up year-on-year (+0.2%), but 7.1% higher than 2011 levels. The UK, Australia and perhaps surprisingly, the USA, are the event’s biggest supporters, but Russia and Italy have seen the strongest growth, rising 82% and 42% respectively. Amadeus noted that this is a possible reflection of the growing popularity of rugby internationally, especially in Russia, which will host the 2013 Rugby Sevens World Cup.

Europe is the single largest source region for traffic to the Hong Kong Sevens, accounting for 43% of total expected long-haul arrivals. North America follows in second place, responsible for 31% of expected arrivals, ahead of Oceania with 17%. Arrivals from Oceania however, have fallen 7.2% from 2012 levels. Bookings from Central and South America however, could increase 10.1% year-on-year – the largest growth of any source regions.

The majority of travellers (39%) will be looking to stay between four and eight nights, representing a 5% increase over the 2012 average.

“These findings underscore the significance of the Hong Kong Sevens to the city’s tourism industry and highlight the opportunities for travel providers and businesses to cater to the influx of rugby fans. As the event continues to attract greater numbers, businesses that adapt their services to meet the varying traveller needs will be best placed to reap the benefits from this growth,” said David Brett, President of Amadeus Asia Pacific.

“The Hong Kong Sevens is a favourite of mine as well as many of our customers. It’s a great meeting place for our travel industry partners who continue to help us shape the future of travel in Asia Pacific,” he added.

Travel Daily Media’s Managing Director, Gary Marshall, and Acting Publisher, Stuart Lloyd, will both be at this weekend’s Hong Kong Sevens. To arrange a meeting with either Gary or Stu, please email info@traveldailymedia.com.

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