Southeast Asian Tourism to Hong Kong Weakens Further

ASEAN, Hong Kong, China, tourism

(photo: flickr)

As earlier predicted, July experienced a contraction of tourist arrivals to Hong Kong with Vietnam and Malaysia experiencing the biggest drop in Southeast Asia. And August is likely to be even worst according to the blog by Hong Kong financial secretary.

Hong Kong is bracing for demonstration and violence for now 12 weeks and the instability which rocks the Chinese special administrative region is reflected in declining tourism numbers. In July, total arrivals to Hong Kong were down by 4.8% to 5.2 million from 5.45 million a year earlier. However, the negative trend is accelerating for overnight travellers (tourists).

In July, overnight visitors were down by 5.3% with non-Mainland China markets down by 6.8%. While long-haul markets declined by 5%, the sharpest fall in tourist arrivals came from short-haul markets outside Greater China.

In Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Malaysia. Thailand and Singapore experienced the biggest contraction in tourist arrivals with a respective decline of 13.9%, 9.4%, 6.6% and 5.5%. Indonesian tourists recorded a modest growth of 0.1%. Total arrivals from the Philippines, however, jumped sharply, growing by 12,2%.

In total, ASEAN six countries generated 159,711 tourists in July, down by 0.1% compared to July 2018 when the territory welcomed 159,903 tourists from the same six ASEAN countries. If the Philippines are excluded, the number of Southeast Asian tourists declined by 6.2%.

August should see a further fall in tourist arrivals. Hong Kong tourism is in trouble and that statement comes from Paul Chan, the Finance Secretary of the Special Administrative Region.

In his blog, Paul Chan indicates that the total number of tourists fell by almost 40 per cent compared to August 2018. The fall in tourism runs parallel with the increasing number of demonstrations that have been setting the territory for over two months.

Paul Chan writes that hotels and house prices, in particular, suffer from massive demonstrations. Hotel beds are more than half occupied, according to the minister, and house prices have fallen by some 70 per cent in some cases. “The retail and catering sector show the same picture. The most worrying thing is that the period to come does not look much brighter,” Chan said.

Finance Secretary already warned of declining trade and slower economic growth. He said that the demonstrations are damaging industry, retail, hospitality and transport.