Some HK hotels now offer cheapest rates in Greater Bay Area

September 09, 2019 12:42
People watch a protest from a shop in Central on Sunday. Photo: Reuters

A room at a four-star hotel near Victoria Park is now cheaper than similar accommodation in Zhongshan or Zhuhai, and you can walk into a Michelin-rated restaurant without any booking, especially on a Sunday.

Another sign of the impact of the current unrest on travel and related industries is that you see fewer people with bulging luggage and multiple shopping bags on the MTR, especially during weekends.

According to data from the Travel Industry Council, there were only 16 tour groups arriving per day on average in the first week of this month, down 90 percent from a year ago.

In August, the daily average was 86 tour groups, down 64 percent from the same month last year. 

With the city entering its 14th straight week of protests, many people are wondering how many mainland tourists will come to Hong Kong during the National Day Golden Week.

In many instances, booking a hotel room is now cheaper than renting an office, and I am seriously contemplating relocating to a conveniently located hotel to save money.

Many tours are about 20 percent of their normal capacity, according to a local tour guide union. That's why many tour guides have been asked by their employers to clear their annual leave credits or take unpaid leaves.

Some local business owners reckon the ongoing protests, which have outlasted the 79-day Occupy Movement five years ago, are worse than the SARS outbreak in 2003. Many travel-related companies have asked their landlords to reduce their rents so they can make ends meet.

It's not only inbound travel that is suffering; so is outbound travel. The political impasse has created uncertainty in our economic outlook. As a result, many people are forgoing unnecessary expenditures, one of which is a holiday trip overseas.

Air passenger departure tax collections fell 16 percent in July and 9 percent in August, according to industry data. Air ticket sales fell 8 percent last month from a year ago, according to data from the International Air Transport Association.

Some companies hit hard by the business slump are considering pay or even job cuts. The government ought to do something about this, lest it wants to see a new bunch of angry people taking to the streets.

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EJ Insight writer