There may not be a better dime every to explore Hong Kong this time, but the connection to China as a Chinese city is costing Hong Kong tourism big time. Currently, there are 56 virus cases in the city and one death, compared to 71 in Singapore, not even close to the 60,000+ recorded in the rest of China. None of the cases involves visitors or people working in the visitors’ industry.
Perception brought Hong Kong’s visitor arrivals down 50% in January compared to the year before. The novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) takes is toll also in this Chinese city, even though there is no dangerous outbreak of the virus.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) said on Friday that visitor arrivals stood at about 3.2 million last month, representing a daily average of 100,000, down by over 50 percent year on year.
The number of mainland Chinese visitors, who accounted for as much as 80 percent of the city’s total arrivals before the outbreak of the disease now named Covid-19, fell to a daily average of 750 in February.
The COVID-19 outbreak put an end to a mild recovery in visitors during the pre-Lunar New Year rush as some airlines suspended flights and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government restricted the flow of travelers between Hong Kong and the mainland to curb the spread of the new virus, the HKTB said.
Daily average arrivals once rose to 130,000 in mid-January but then plunged to 65,000. The HKTB said the figure has dropped to below 3,000 so far in February.
The slump in inbound visitors has dealt a major blow to consumption-related sectors from catering to tourism in Hong Kong and compounded the hardships of small retailers and restaurants.
Experts have warned of a further spike in the jobless rate and more closures of small businesses.
Last year tourism in HK went down because of ongoing and sometimes violent protests. This is now history and with some of the best deals the city ever offered, tourism should be booming.
In reality, the danger because of Coronavirus in Hong Kong is very low for visitors but the cities tourism slow down is clearly based on perception, and this is expensive for the many businesses and people dependent on the Tourism Dollar.
Hong Kong, however, remains open for tourism and with some fantastic travel deals. More on www.discoverhongkong.com