20 January 2019
Fewer mainland tourists are expected in Hong Kong this holiday season. Photo: Bloomberg
Fewer mainland tourists are expected in Hong Kong this holiday season. Photo: Bloomberg

HK hotels cut prices as mainland tour groups stay away

Hotels in Hong Kong are cutting their room prices by between 3 percent and 5 percent for the Lunar New Year holidays that begin Thursday.

The main reason is that reservations from tour groups from the mainland are significantly fewer than in the past few years, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday, citing an industry insider.

James Lu Shien-hwai, executive director of the Hong Kong Hotels Association, said Beijing’s continuing antigraft campaign has forced hotel operators in the city to abandon their original plan of increasing room rates during the holidays; they are cutting them instead.

He said there are also fewer business visitors coming to Hong Kong to seek opportunities.

Lu said the hotel occupation rate now stands at a little more than 80 percent.

Joseph Tung Yao-chung, executive director of the Travel Industry Council, said only about 100 mainland tour groups had registered at hotels for the holidays by Tuesday, compared with the more than 300 groups that did so before each of the past two Lunar New Years.

Mainland tour groups are required to register at Hong Kong hotels two days before their arrival.

Tung remained optimistic, however, about last-minute registrations.

He said the real peak for hotel check-ins by mainland tourists will occur on Thursday and Friday, the second and third day of this year’s week-long holidays.

In the past, as many as 600 tour groups arrived on each of the two days, Tung said.

However, he admitted that the mainland is estimated to account for only 8 percent of all inbound tourists this time and may not be the main source of tourists it used to be.

He expects between 450 and 480 mainland tour groups to come to the city during the Lunar New Year holidays.

Charles Ng Kwong-wai, honorary president of the Inbound Tour Operators Association, cited several reasons for the decreasing demand from mainland tourists, including the hostile atmosphere toward them and intense competition from neighboring countries that make it easier for them to obtain visas.

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