Occupancy rates at some hotels have halved, with no improvement in sight, Hong Kong’s financial secretary said.
Visitor arrivals to Hong Kong fell nearly 40% in August from the previous year, worsening from the 5% drop in July, the finance secretary said, as anti-government protests sometimes violent weigh more and more heavily on the tourism, the retail sale and the hotel industry of the city.
Hotels in some places have seen occupancy rates drop by about half, while room rates have plunged 40 to 70 percent, Chan said, citing industry sources.
“Most worrying is that it doesn’t look like the road is improving easily,” Chan said on his blog on Sunday.
Tourist arrivals in July fell 4.8% year-on-year, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the first annual drop since January 2018 and the largest percentage drop since August 2016.
Retail sales in July fell the most since February 2016 amid anti-government protests that gripped the Chinese-ruled city for more than three months.
Chan said the social unrest had severely damaged Hong Kong’s image as a safe international city and a hub for commerce, aviation and finance.
On Monday, hundreds of uniformed students formed human chains in districts of Hong Kong to support anti-government protesters after another weekend of clashes in the Chinese-ruled city. Metro stations that had closed on Sunday amid the clashes have reopened.
Chan said repeated violent conflicts, blockades of roads, underground railways and the airport had prevented people from going to work and school and led to the cancellation or postponement of ” numerous »international conferences and exhibitions.
Total exports fell 5.7% year-on-year in July, while the value of re-exports to the United States from China via Hong Kong fell 15.2% from the previous year, a- he declared.
Global credit rating agency Fitch Ratings on Friday downgraded the long-term default rating of Hong Kong foreign currency issuers to “AA” instead of “AA-plus”, and said it expects that public discontent persists.
“Fitch’s point of view is purely speculative, without justification,” Chan said.