The global fear sparked by the outbreak of H1N1 had led to the slump of tourism in Hong Kong amid the continually weak global economy, officials said on Monday.

According to the figures released by Airport Authority, passenger volume at Hong Kong International Airport fell 18.9% to 3.3 million in June on the same month last year, with cargo traffic also dropping 13.4% to 270,000 tones. Air traffic movements fell by 13.3%, and visitor travel dropped 25%.

The falls were caused mainly by the growing spread of swine flu and the flight reductions by airlines due to lower demand in continually weak global economy.

Cargo exports dropped 17%, mainly due to weak consumption markets in North America and Europe.

Airport Authority Chief Executive Officer Stanley Hui said on Monday as people's concern over H1N1 recedes and the global economy stabilizes he expects passenger traffic to see smaller declines and cargo volume to gradually recover.

He also said the year-on-year 13.4% drop in cargo throughput in June was noticeably smaller than the 20% decline recorded in recent months, which was smaller than the 30% reductions recorded at the end of last year and early this year.

For the first half of 2009 the Airport Authority handled 22.4 million passengers, 1.5 million tones of cargo and 138,290 aircraft movements, representing drops of 8.2%, 19.8% and 7.7% on the first half of last year.

As of 2:30 pm on Monday, 76 new H1N1 cases were confirmed in the 24 hours, involving 36 males and 40 females aged between one and 81. This brings the total tally of H1N1 cases to 1,886 in Hong Kong. One fatality had been reported and three cases were in critical situation.