Hong Kong Riots: The impact on tourism in the city
Updated 20:12, 07-Aug-2019
For the past two months, Hong Kong has been at the center of increasingly violent protests. As one of the most visited cities in the world, Hong Kong's tourism industry is starting to feel the blow from the demonstrations. Zhu Dan tells us more.
Is it safe to travel to Hong Kong?
"I am still a little worried."
"Because of the protest, I am afraid of getting involved in it."
That's a question increasingly being asked on travel websites and social media.
ZHU DAN HONG KONG "Here in Wanchai, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Hong Kong, we're seeing very few people. The usually crowded square is almost empty. I myself was asked a lot of times by curious tourists passing by, is it safe here? Well, their question and concern already tells us the answer."
When the protests began in June, Hong Kong's hotels and travel industry started receiving enquiries from agencies and tourists around the world. The Langham Hospitality Group, a luxury hotel operator in the city, said in a statement that 'certain segments at our Hong Kong hotels have seen a slowdown.' And luxury hotel Island Shangri-La, located in the city's Central district, said it had seen some cancellations from overseas leisure, group and corporate guests.
JASON WONG CHAIRMAN, TRAVEL INDUSTRY COUNCIL OF HONG KONG "Some of the source market of HK like southeast Asia, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Philippines, they start canceling bookings to HK. The cancellation is more than 50%."
The numbers say it all. The Hong Kong Tourism Board said that year-on-year growth in visitor numbers slowed to 8.5 percent in June, compared with year-on-year growth in May, which was 19.5 percent.
JASON WONG CHAIRMAN, TRAVEL INDUSTRY COUNCIL OF HONG KONG "For some of the hotels in Hong Kong, we heard from our hotel trade that would be around single digit drop in terms of occupancy. In some of the occupied areas, those hotels might have hotel rates drop more than double digit."
With the protests growing more violent and causing disruption to public transport, tourists have been warned to take precautions in Hong Kong.Travel chaos reached a peak this Monday when protesters prevented the doors of trains from closing and the cancellation of some 250 flights in and out of Hong Kong International Airport left people stranded. Since July, a number of countries have issued travel warnings for Hong Kong, including Ireland, Japan, the United Kingdom and Canada.
JASON WONG CHAIRMAN, TRAVEL INDUSTRY COUNCIL OF HONG KONG "The second half year perhaps is the peak season of our major source market, agencies reflect to us that they have not received any new bookings so far. If the situation continues, the whole trade will be affected and some of the travel agencies may need to close down."
The most visited city in the world for the eighth year in a row in 2018, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, may lose its momentum if the chaos continues. Zhu Dan, CGTN, HK.