China Hong KongLatest figures showed a 3.3% decline in visitors, excluding mainland China, putting on pause a momentum that looked to reach a record 65.1 million visitors.

Hong Kong saw tourism plunge as protests continue

By
|
Hong Kong 190722
Hong Kong tourism has taken a hit as visitor arrivals plunge from what was building to a record year of 65.1 million visitors. Photo Credit: RyanKing999/Getty Images

Overall tourist arrivals, however, grew 4.2% for the same period, representing the lowest weekly growth since the middle of June, according to Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB).

Hong Kong’s short-haul visitor numbers saw a sharp decline this month as the city braces for the impact of ongoing protests against the extradition bill.

Latest figures showed that visitors from Asia, excluding mainland China, dropped 3.3% between July 1 to 5, year on year, South China Morning Post reported.

Overall tourist arrivals, however, grew 4.2% for the same period, representing the lowest weekly growth since the middle of June, according to Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB).

HKTB’s outgoing chief executive Anthony Lau Chun-hon said on Friday that June arrivals, which had jumped 8.5% from the same period last year, still reflected the impact of the US-China trade war.

Fewer visitors have arrived from mainland China, Taiwan and South Korea since June, as news of the protests quickly spread, said Lau.

Lau also said the forward booking of air flights and hotels and other tours in Hong Kong will be “challenging in the next couple of months”.

Tourist arrivals in the first six months soared 13.9% to 34.87 million, a performance that looked to exceed the board’s target of a record 65.1 million.

But since June, the city has been rocked by a series of protests with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators to march against the now-suspended legislation.

A majority of the marches started in the prime shopping district of Causeway Bay, ending in the tourists governmental district of Admiralty, with roads blocked and business disrupted.

Pullback from Mainland visitors
Mainland visitors, comprising 79% of the city’s total, surged 16.4% to 27.55 million in the first half of 2019, year-on-year.

While visitor numbers have been encouraging, 62% visited on one-day trips and spent relatively less.

Those who stayed overnight also spent 18.5% less in the first half of the year, due to the combined effect of the depreciation of the yuan against the Hong Kong dollar, the impact of the trade war and changing spending patterns.

“This is the sharpest drop in record,” Lau said. As a result, the overall tourists’ spending was down 13.6% to HK$6,010 (US$769) per person per trip in the first half of the year.

Lau said the trade war between the United States and China continued to hit business travel, with long haul visitors numbers down 4.1 per cent in June from the same month last year.


JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI