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Wednesday, July 24, 2019, 01:57
HK's hotel woes likely to get even worse
By Edith Lu
Wednesday, July 24, 2019, 01:57 By Edith Lu

Hong Kong’s hotel operators are in for tougher times with occupancy rates expected to plunge further — by 2 to 3 percentage points in July and August — if the anti-extradition law amendment bill protests drag on, a hospitality industry player has warned. 

Hotels in various districts across the city will be affected at varying degrees, and the average hotel room rate is likely to drop by 10 percent, predicted Michael Li Hon-shing, executive director of the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners. 

Hotels in various districts across the city will be affected at varying degrees, and the average hotel room rate is likely to drop by 10 percent, predicted Michael Li Hon-shing, executive director of the Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners

He said on Tuesday the impact on high-end hotels would be particularly obvious amid depressed investment sentiment, with fewer businesspeople coming to Hong Kong.

ALSO READ: End violence for the sake of SAR's stability and prosperity

According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, average hotel room rates per night in the first five months of this year rose by 0.6 percent from the same period a year ago. But, upscale hotels recorded a 0.4 percent drop in average nightly room rates year-on-year to HK$2,141 (US$274).

The special administrative region received 5.14 million tourists last month — down 13 percent from a month earlier. Visitors from the Chinese mainland accounted for nearly 70 percent of the total number of tourist arrivals during the same period, but the number of mainland tourists dwindled by 3.6 percent and 2.5 percent in the third and fourth week of June, respectively, as large-scale protests broke out.

Li said potential visitors would balk at coming to Hong Kong after watching the demonstrations on television.

He said he will discuss with others in the hotel industry about ways of overcoming the problems. He suggested the tourism board explain Hong Kong’s latest situation to countries in the region, including Japan, South Korea and those in Southeast Asia, with the message that Hong Kong remains safe for tourists as the protests occur only during weekends.

Li believes it’s necessary to keep people in foreign countries informed about developments in Hong Kong, and strive to minimize the negative impact on the city’s tourism business.

ALSO READ: Lawlessness hurting HK economy

The SAR government is in touch with various sectors, he said, and hopes Hong Kong people could resolve their differences in a peaceful and rational manner.

In his view, Sunday night’s attacks on bystanders and commuters by groups of men armed with sticks and metal rods at Yuen Long MTR station was an isolated incident. 

READ MORE: Residents urge Hong Kong police to safeguard security in Yuen Long

Li believes the SAR government, the police and people from all walks of life do not condone such violent acts.

edithlu@chinadailyhk.com

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