The Hong Kong Tourism Industry Lost Billions in the Golden Week as Covid-19 Continues

The daily infection case of Covid-19 in Hong Kong is gradually decreasing to single-digit but the border restrictions are still valid and keep the Mainland tourists away during the eight-day long National Day Holiday, commonly known as Golden Week. A lawmaker estimated that Hong Kong had suffered from a 99.8 per cent decrease in its number of visitors, and an expected revenue loss of at least HK$2.26 billion in the first four days of Golden Week.

In an interview with a local newspaper, tourism-sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing mentioned that each visitor to Hong Kong would generally spend at least HK$4000 in the city. But the situation of Covid-19 leads to a decline in the number of visitors as the pandemic rules require visitors to have 14-day mandatory quarantine upon arrival in Hong Kong.

Nicole Tse, a local travel agency manager, said there is no mainland tour group business during the Golden Week. “It is impossible for mainland tourists to spend their holidays in 14-day mandatory quarantine.” On the other hand, the restraining order, such as the social distancing rule increases the cost of forming a local tour group. “Hong Kong’s travel agencies are under immense pressure.” She added.

Peel Street in Central was almost empty at nightfall on Oct 6th. (Photo by Trendy Leung)

Hong Kong used to attract millions of Mainland tourists before 2019, when a series of anti-government protests beset the city. According to the entry record from the Immigration Department in 2018, a total of 227,271 visitors arrived in Hong Kong via the West Kowloon checkpoint during the Golden Week holiday, with 97.5 per cent of them being mainland visitors.

While in 2019, there were only 115,501 visitors arrived at the checkpoint during the seven-day holiday, which had dropped by 57.9 per cent compare with 2018.

Battered by Covid-19, Hong Kong has lost popularity this year again. According to Ctrip, China’s largest online travel agnecy, about 600 million tourists chose to travel to other destinations within the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On the first day of Golden Week, transaction volume in mainland China recorded by China UnionPay reached 330 billion yuan. According to the government data from mainland China, the tourism revenue during the Golden Week is expected to be 650 billion yuan but there is a 25 per cent decline compared with last year.

There are still a certain number of covid-19 cases in Hong Kong per day, and social distancing rules are still being enforced. (Photo by Harvey Kong)

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