That is the biggest year-on-year decrease in visitor numbers since May 2003, when arrivals sank almost 70 per cent in the midst of the Sars disease outbreak that ultimately claimed hundr of lives in the city, according to data compiled by Bloomberg from the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
“Social issues in the past few months, especially the continued violent clashes and blockading of airport and roads, have seriously impacted Hong Kong’s international image as a safe city,” Mr Chan said in his post, which was written in traditional Chinese.
“The most worrying thing is that the situation is not likely to turn around in the near future.”
The city’s tourism, retail and hotel industries have been particularly hard hit, Mr Chan said. Occupancy rates at hotels in several districts fell more than half, while room rates decreased 40 per cent to 70 per cent. Many meetings and business trips have been postponed or moved to other places, he said.
The protests, which were triggered by opposition to a proposed extradition Bill, and then morphed into a broader challenge against Beijing’s authority, have placed a growing toll on the city’s economy.
The economy overall contracted 0.4 per cent in the second quarter from the previous period, raising the prospect of a technical recession.
s of Hysan Development and Wharf Holdings, which operate malls in Causeway Bay, closed down more than 1.5 per cent yesterday after police fired tear gas in the district on Sunday night.
The MSCI Hong Kong Index slipped 0.1 per cent.
Retailers are making plans to ride out the disruption. Sa Sa International Holdings, a cosmetics retailer, has asked some managers in its back office to take no-pay leave for as many as four days each month starting from this month, Ming Pao reported yesterday, citing people familiar with the matter. Sa Sa s fell 3.9 per cent.