The first week of October, China’s national holiday break during which millions head out on vacation, marks one of the busiest periods for Hong Kong’s tourism and retail industry.
As this year’s “Golden Week” holiday approaches, the city’s tour guides, hotel owners and shop assistants are staring down an abyss of empty planes, vacant hotel rooms and ghostly theme parks as anti-China protests enter their 17th week, scaring tourists away.
Chinese group tours for the Golden Week are set to plunge 86% compared to the same period last year, according to the city’s Travel Industry Council. Flight prices from Shanghai to Hong Kong are 38% cheaper than last year’s fares and only 30% of hotel rooms are booked for the holiday period.
Across the city, only around 30% of hotel rooms are booked a week before the start of Golden Week, compared to the usual 70%, said Yiu Si-wing, a Hong Kong lawmaker representing the tourism industry. He expects tourism arrivals to plunge 40% this Golden Week compared to the same period last year.
According to figures from Chinese travel portal Qunar.com, the price of a flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong has dropped nearly 38% for this year’s Golden Week compared to the same period last year, while the number of bookings has slipped by nearly 22%. For flights from Beijing, prices are unchanged, but bookings have plunged 46%.
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