business

Hong Kong August visitor arrivals plunge 40%; hotels half full

8 Comments
By Donny Kwok

Hong Kong visitor arrivals plunged nearly 40% in August from a year earlier, deepening from July's 5% fall, the finance secretary said as sometimes violent anti-government protests take a rising toll on the city's tourism, retail and hotel businesses.

Hotels in some locations had seen occupancy rates drop to about half, while room rates plunged 40-70%, Paul Chan said, citing industry sources.

"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.

July tourist arrivals fell 4.8% 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.

Retail sales in July sank by the most since February 2016 amid the anti-government protests that have gripped the Chinese-ruled city for more than three months.

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.

On Monday, hundreds of uniformed school students formed human chains in districts across Hong Kong in support of anti-government protesters after another weekend of clashes in the Chinese-ruled city. Metro stations that had closed on Sunday amid confrontations reopened.

Chan said that 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.

Total export fell 5.7% year on year in July, while re-export value to the United States from China via Hong Kong declined 15.2% from a year earlier, he said.

Global credit rating agency Fitch Ratings on Friday downgraded Hong Kong's long-term foreign currency issuer default rating to "AA" from "AA+", and said it expects public discontent will likely persist.

"Fitch's view is purely speculative, lacking justification," Chan said.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

8 Comments
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The government of China needs to concede to the protesters’ demands and let the city get back to business.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The government of China needs to concede to the protesters’ demands and let the city get back to business.

They're more likely going to wait this out even further, as they're going to sell this as them punishing themselves, and thus suffering the consequences for their own actions.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Would I fancy turning a corner and getting tear gassed?

How about not being able to get my return flight?

How about fighting in the departure terminal whilst I queue for my flight?

But what is worse is a regime that kidnaps its own citizens for detention!

4 ( +4 / -0 )

HK has some great hotels - I may look to see if there are any good deals on right now.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

HK already removed the extradition bill, and yet the protests continue with a now growing list of demands. The protestors are unreasonable, they should be happy that their objective was met but now the world will turn against them and give China all the ammo it needs to "protect" the people of HK from these troublemakers.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

HK already removed the extradition bill, and yet the protests continue with a now growing list of demands.

The demands were in place before the bill was removed. Seems you're a little confused on timelines.

The protestors are unreasonable

It must be nice to be speaking from a place of such freedom that you don't need to consider what it would be like to have to fight for it.

Or maybe you're someone who lives in an area with no freedom, and cannot understand it.

Either way, the idea that fighting for one's freedom is 'unreasonable' is entirely ridiculous.

they should be happy that their objective was met

Only one objective has been met.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This is one area where things are caught up even though the Extradition Bill has been withdrawn. The protestors have Five Demands and want all five not one less.

One of them is to free the arrested protestors some of whom are charged with vandalism. The Hong Kong government will not free someone who stabs a police officer but all must be freed per demands. One side will have to give in.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

China has time on its hand, all it has to do is wait

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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