Hong Kong Protests Send Tourists to ASEAN Countries

Global EAT - Hong Kong Protests Send Tourists to ASEAN Countries
The Hong Kong protests were sparked by the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill by the Hong Kong government. (M. Cheng/unsplash.com)

Hong Kong protests have left the city’s tourism industry in dire straits.   Airlines are offering massive discounts to woo visitors to the city amid ongoing protests which began in June this year.

Flight deals run as low as USD 356 from Los Angeles.  From Vancouver, a return flight to Hong Kong is round CAD$550.  Some hotel rates have dropped to US$9 a night, according to a South China Morning Post news headline.

But some travellers are reluctant to risk their vacation plans.  About 20 to 30 percent client requests were for flights to be routed via Taipei, Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai to avoid getting stuck in Hong Kong said Christina Wong of Royal Scenic Travel.

Despite Canadian government travel warning to China, some opted to transit in Beijing and Shanghai. “People are price driven,” added Wong.

“People are looking for alternative destinations, and Malaysia has benefited as our numbers are up,” said Sandra Fonseka, marketing manager for Tourism Malaysia, Vancouver office.

The country will be hosting Visit Malaysia 2020 next year. The government has established a target of 30 million visitors with tourist receipts amounting to about USD 23.9 billion (RM100 billion).  The campaign will focus on promoting the country’s ecotourism, arts and culture .

Arrivals Up for Singapore

Clean, convenient and efficient Singapore has also benefited from the Hong Kong protests.  Canadian arrivals in June 2019 increase 6.73% compared to the same month last year, while US arrivals went up 16.19%.

For July 2019, Canadian arrivals grew 11.63% and US up by 17.21% more than July 2018. Overall visitor arrivals to Singapore increase 3% in August 2019 compared to 2018.

The Hong Kong protests have also sent tourists to other ASEAN countries including Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.  Mainland Chinese tourists accounted for the bulk of ASEAN visits.

How much damage have the protests impacted the Hong Kong’s tourism industry?

in August this year, Hong Kong received around 3.6 million arrivals, down from 5.9 million during the same month last year, according to Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Visitor arrivals were down for all markets according to Hong Kong Tourist Board.  The mainland Chinese market saw the biggest decline for Hong Kong.   Their numbers dropped in August to 2.8 million from 4.8 million compared to the same month last year.  The protests have dissuaded some travellers, but not all.

“Travel & Tourism is a resilient sector. People will not stop travelling, despite the security threats in the world”, said president & CEO David Scowsill of the World Travel & Tourism Council.