Hong Kong's tourism and film industries enjoy bumper New Year

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The Independent Online

As Hong Kong shakes off its Chinese New Year hangover and gets back to the daily grind there will be a least a few smiles lingering around town as the tourism and film industries saw their coffers filled over the holiday period.

The four-day New Year "Golden Week'' is traditionally a boom for Hong Kong's tourism industry as mainland Chinese tourists take advantage of the sales on offer through the city's ubiquitous malls and hotels offer attractive packages for overnight - and longer stays.

Combined this year they helped boost visitor numbers over the New Year by almost 17 percent, year on year, to 782,163. More than 70 percent of those visitors came from mainland China.

On the third day of the Lunar New Year (February 16) a single-day record for mainland Chinese visitors to Hong Kong was set when 102,849 people streamed into town.

"Our provisional figures show that the cumulative visitor arrivals from January 1 to February 19 this year have already surpassed five million, reaching a new historic high,'' James Tien, chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said on releasing the figures at the weekend.

"We are greatly encouraged. We understand that many Mainland visitors, especially those from southern China, made same-day consumption visits ... to enjoy the shopping and New Year festivities in Hong Kong, which helped drive the growth in overall arrivals."

Many may well have included a trip to the local cinema while there were in town too, judging by the rise of 10 percent in cinema takings over the New Year.

According to the the Hong Kong Theatres Association, local cinemas collected HK$43.3 million (4.1 million euros) from February 13 to 16 - up 9.47 percent from the HK$39.5 million (3.7 million euros)  taken in last year.

And the star-studded, feel-good Chinese New Year releases led the way with the Hong Kong-produced comedies 72 Tenants of Prosperity, with HK$9.8 million (928,000 euros), and All's Well Ends Well, Too 2010, with HK$8.6 million (815,000 euros) were the top two crowd pullers.

Where Hong Kong tourists came from over Chinese New Year:

Mainland China: 573,014 (up 15.2 percent from 2009)

Other markets: 209,140 (up 21.6 percent)

Total: 782,163 (up 16.9 percent)