Date
23 October 2017
Outbound tour leaflets are displayed outside a local travel agency. Stamp revenue from outbound tour groups fell 27 percent year on year in October. Photo: HKEJ
Outbound tour leaflets are displayed outside a local travel agency. Stamp revenue from outbound tour groups fell 27 percent year on year in October. Photo: HKEJ

Occupy protests hurting tourism, say industry players

Hong Kong’s tourism business, both inbound and outbound, has been suffering from the pro-democracy street protests, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday, citing industry players.

Stamp revenue from outbound tour groups dropped 27 percent to HK$730 million (US$94.1 million) in the first 27 days of the month, compared with the same period a year earlier, the report said, citing data from the Travel Industry Council.

Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So said hotels and travel agencies have reported that their business has been hurt by the Occupy campaign.

The number of non-mainland visitors to the territory dropped 3.7 percent year on year for the month, So said.

Industry estimates show that the number of mainland visitors rose more than 4 percent during the period, although the increase was significantly lower than the double-digit growth for each month since 2011, based on records compiled by the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

In fact, the number of mainland visitors from places other than Guangdong province showed a decline, the board said.

Mainland tour groups were unaffected, but it may be that travelers did not want to pay penalties for canceling their bookings, it said.

The industry expects a 3 to 4 percent increase in the number of visitors to the city this month from a year earlier, the report said.

Travel Industry Council chairman Michael Wu said neighboring countries, including Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, have reduced promotional efforts for Hong Kong, and as a result, the number of foreign visitors may drop 6 to 8 percent in November.

Wu said only about 32 percent of the hotel rooms have been reserved so far for November, compared with 40 percent a year earlier.

Rates for some mid-range to high-end hotels in Tsim Sha Tsui have dropped to below HK$1,000 per night, he said, adding that he hasn’t seen this for years.

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TL/AC/CG

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