- Title: Dire outlook for Hong Kong tourism, hit by months of violent protests
- Date: 3rd October 2019
- Summary: HONG KONG, CHINA (RECENT) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF HONG KONG'S LAN KWAI FONG NIGHTLIFE DISTRICT VARIOUS OF BAR OWNER, KARMA GURUNG, POURING A BEER IN ONE OF THE BARS HE RUNS (SOUNDBITE) (English) BAR OWNER, KARMA GURUNG, SAYING: "Yeah, it's getting worse and worse every day, you know. Like, before it used to be good for the bar and restaurant business but now it's getting worse and worse. So it's probably that if I, if these things go on for four or five months, I'm going to have to close down most of my bars." PEOPLE DRINKING BEER VARIOUS OF LAN KWAI FONG NIGHTLIFE DISTRICT FERRY MAN TAKING PICTURES TOURISTS AT HARBOUR / SUNSET
- Embargoed: 17th October 2019 06:01
- Keywords: Hong Kong China protests tourism business
- Location: HONG KONG, CHINA
- City: HONG KONG, CHINA
- Country: Hong Kong
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Civil Unrest
- Reuters ID: LVA003AZJJOZR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Businesses in Hong Kong have experienced a drastic slowdown following nearly four months of anti-government protests as number of tourists dropped more than 30 percent, business owners and government officials said.
Over the past four months, anti-government protesters have clashed with police, shrouding the city in a cloud of tear gas, and smoke from fires and petrol bombs, venting their anger against what they allege as police violence, and demanding for democracy. The discontent started over a now-withdrawn extradition bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial.
Airports, bars, MTR stations and roads have had to frequently due to the unrest.
"Our business is down at least by half," said Raymond Ma, an Uber driver. "The number of people taking a taxi is a lot fewer, it's obvious the business is going down."
Ma is not alone. Hong Kong's August retail sales were the worst on record, the government said, as the violent clashes spread across shopping districts took a heavy toll on malls.
Hong Kong, which ranks among the world's top five luxury destinations, has long been a magnet for brands attracted by the flow of visitors from mainland China. But, in the golden week holiday, which mark the Chinese National Day, many mainland travellers have shunned away.
August tourist arrivals fell 39.1 percent on year to 3.59 million, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the biggest decline since May 2003 when an outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) hit. They were down 30.9 percent from July. The number of mainland visitors fell 42.3% in August, accounting for 77.5% of the total.
Edward Yau, the secretary for commerce and economic development said they hoped to 'relaunch' Hong Kong after things settle down.
As the weekend violent protests continue, bar owners like Karma Gurung, who runs several businesses in the city's best known nightlife area, fear the worst.
"If these things go on for four or five months, I'm going to have to close down most of my bars," he said.
The protests have hit the city at the same time as consumer sentiment has been hit by an ongoing Sino-U.S. trade war and the depreciation of the Chinese currency. The opposition to the Beijing-backed government has plunged the city into its biggest political crisis in decades and poses the gravest popular challenge to President Xi Jinping since he came to power.
(Production: Aleksander Solum, Joyce Zhou, Angie Teo)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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