Hong Kong August visitors plunge 40 percent year-on-year

The number of visitors to Hong Kong declined by 2.4 million in August, seeing a plunge of nearly 40 percent from a year earlier, according to Paul Chan, financial secretary of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government.

The ongoing unrest in Hong Kong has made negative impacts on its tourism sector in the past three months despite the peak travel season. Hotels in some locations had seen occupancy rates drop to about half, while room rates plunged 40-70 percent, Chan said, citing industry sources. The economic loss reached 12 billion yuan (1.68 billion U.S. dollars) per month. 

July tourist arrivals fell 4.8 percent on the year, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the first annual decline since January 2018 and the biggest percentage drop since August 2016.

CGTN Infographic

CGTN Infographic

Chan said the social unrest had severely damaged the image of Hong Kong as a safe international city and a hub for trade, aviation and finance.

"The most worrying thing is that it does not seem that the road ahead is easily going to turn any better," Chan said in his blog on Sunday.

Repeated violent conflicts, the blocking of roads, underground railways and the airport had obstructed people from going to work and school and led to the cancellation or rescheduling of "many" international conferences and exhibitions, according to Chan.

Hong Kong saw 5.89 million visitors last August, with a year-on-year increase of 17.4 percent. 

(With input from Reuters)