The shine is gone from the annual “golden week” holiday that begins on October 1, and Hong Kong’s hotels, restaurants, shopping malls and attractions can only look back wistfully at the better times of years gone by.
The Covid-19 pandemic, with its restrictions on travel, has left tourism industry players expecting a muted long weekend for Hongkongers as mainland Chinese visitors keep away.
Hong Kong’s October 1-4 holiday overlaps with the Mid-Autumn Festival, while mainlanders get an eight-day National Day break that usually sees millions travelling within the country and overseas.
In 2018, about 1.5 million mainlanders flocked to Hong Kong over the holiday. That number slumped by more than 55 per cent to about 672,000 last year, as they were put off by the city’s anti-government protests.
The number of mainland visitors plummeted 92 per cent between January and August this year to only 2.7 million, compared to more than 34.5 million over the same period a year ago.
Tourism sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said the pandemic rules requiring visitors from mainland China, Macau and Taiwan to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival at Hong Kong would put off visitors from across the border.
This means Hongkongers will be on their own to create any buzz they can over the long weekend, although Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor urged revellers to avoid large gatherings and remain alert against the coronavirus.
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