- 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 TOURISTS AND HONG KONG RESIDENTS AT HARBOURFRONT IN TSIM SHA TSUI DISTRICT TOURISTS TAKING PICTURES 37-YEAR-OLD'S UBER DRIVER, RAYMOND MA, OPENING HIS CAR VARIOUS MA, CLEANING HIS VEHICLE (SOUNDBITE) (Cantonese) 36-YEAR-OLD UBER DRIVER, RAYMOND MA, SAYING: "At this point, basically business is down at least by half, and maybe more than that. We see our income every day and know it, it is really obvious. But our expenses are the same, so the impact is big." VARIOUS OF MA DRIVING MA'S REFLECTION ON MIRROR (SOUNDBITE) (Cantonese) 36-YEAR-OLD UBER DRIVER, RAYMOND MA, SAYING: "Arriving and departing at the airport, there are fewer tourists, that's what we can see. The bar districts, tourist areas, the number of people taking a car are a lot fewer, it's obvious the business is going down." HONG KONG, CHINA (SEPTEMBER 29, 2019) (REUTERS) VARIOUS HONG KONG SKYLINE TOURISTS FROM MAINLAND CHINA, MR. GUO AND HIS WIFE LOOKING ON (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) MAINLAND CHINESE TOURIST, MR. GUO SAYING: "They have to buck themselves up now, and be ruled in the right way, so that it can be even more prosperous, and the whole world will continue their tourism here, and so Hong Kong will be richer and prosperous, the people's lives will improve, creating this mess is not doing themselves any good. Like just now when we had meals there were no people in the restaurant only us, two of us. I always come to Hong Kong, I came here many times. Even here (Avenue of Stars), we couldn't get a picture here because there are so many people, we couldn't take a proper pictures, but look now, there's no people. Such a pity, Hong Kong is such a nice place, what a pity." TOURISTS WALKING PAST FERRY VARIOUS OF TOURISTS DRINKING BEERS FERRIES AND BOATS (SOUNDBITE) (English) GERMAN TOURIST, PHILLIP FRICK, SAYING: "I'm here for my wedding and for having fun with my friends, to enjoy the very nice people, the very nice culture in Hong Kong. Of course we don't go to the area where now there is a protest or something. We have nothing to do with it." HONG KONG, CHINA (OCTOBER 1, 2019) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS / TEAR GAS RIOT POLICE LOOKING ON VARIOUS PROTESTERS SHIELDING UNDER UMBRELLAS RIOT POLICE CHARGING AS THEY MOVE RIOT POLICE ARRESTING MAN
- 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: LVA001AZJJOZR
- 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
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None