HONG KONG, Sept 11 – Despite a falling tourism trade and the shadow cast by the world’s economic woes it seems Hong Kong remains Asia’s top destination when it comes to shopping.
The "Best Cities for Shopping, Asia” poll was held by online travel magazine Smart Travel Asia and released September 3; in it Hong Kong pulled in 28 percent of the vote, in front of its traditional rival Singapore, which attracted 26 percent.
The surprises included the Indonesia island of Bali – unranked last year and now ranked Asia’s seventh-best place for shopping, equal to China’s most populous city, Shanghai.
China was also represented in the poll by Hong Kong’s closest neighbor, Shenzhen, which attracts a huge number of day trippers due to the fact that it lies right on the Hong Kong-China border.
"Shenzhen is often mistakenly assumed to be an extension of Hong Kong. It isn’t. It is a shopper destination in its own right with unusual offerings and attractive prices, not to mention the daylong massages for the shop-weary,” according to Smart Travel Asia.
More than 5,000 travellers voted in the poll, which ran from May to July this year. On average, those who voted had 12.84 air trips per years and the organizers say 60 percent of those involved were based in Asia, and the other 40 percent spilt directly between Europe and North America.
Smart Travel Asia claims to be the region’s only dedicated online travel magazine with over one million readers worldwide.
2009 Rank 2008 Rank
1. Hong Kong 1
2. Singapore 3
3. Bangkok, Thailand 2
4. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 4
5. Dubai, UAE 9
6. Hanoi, Vietnam 8
7. Bali, Indonesia / Shanghai, China – / 7
8. Manila, Philippines 5
9. Beijing, China / Tokyo, Japan – / 6