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Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 22:56
Hotel industry sees dramatic slump over summer
By Edith Lu
Tuesday, September 17, 2019, 22:56 By Edith Lu

Hong Kong's hospitality industry's summer boom quickly turned chilly, with the occupancy rate dropping from 90 percent to less than 30 percent at the time — a traditional peak season.

A few luxury hotels recorded single-day occupancy rates of only 10 percent, and some hotels have closed several floors as local social unrest drags on, the Hotels, Food and Beverage Employees Association said on Tuesday.

A few luxury hotels recorded single-day occupancy rates of only 10 percent, and some hotels have closed several floors as local social unrest drags on

Hotels, Food and Beverage Employees Association

The hotel business did not improve over the three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday, from Friday through Sunday, said Nerine Yip Lau-ching, the association's secretary-general. She said the average occupancy rate remained at about 40 percent during that time.

"Even if the tourist arrivals to Hong Kong went up over the holiday, most of them were visitors from the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area who did not stay overnight," Yip said.

Many visitors have canceled their hotel bookings for the coming weeklong National Day holiday in early October, said Lung (not his real name), an employee at a five-star hotel in the Yau Tsim Mong District.

He added that the hotel he works for has closed eight floors — nearly half of the total — while the occupancy rate has dropped to about 40 percent in the past few months.

Lung also said the hotel has stopped employing temporary workers and asked others to take days off.

According to a survey conducted by the association, 77 percent of respondents said they have been forced to take unpaid leaves of up to three days, while 43 percent predicted their hotels are likely to reduce the number of employees.

Yip said she has not yet heard of any large-scale downsizing. She said she believe the impact of the protests will be seen more clearly at the beginning of next year, since most hotels saw positive results in the first five months of this year before the protests broke out.

Speaking for hotel employees, the association's executive officer, Barry Kai Hung-chuen, called for law and order to be restored as soon as possible.

He suggested hotel employers strengthen internal training for employees and make full preparation for recovery. In addition, he asked the special administrative region government to provide skill development courses and training subsidies to maintain their competitiveness.

Kai also proposed setting up an emergency unemployment assistance fund to help those hotel employers in need get through the tough times.


edithlu@chinadailyhk.com


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