Tourists may shun HK amid chaotic protests, opt for al­ter­nate des­ti­na­tions

Global Times US Edition - - BIZUPDATE -

Friendlier travel poli­cies worked out re­cently by a good num­ber of coun­tries might dis­suade Chi­nese main­lan­ders from visit­ing Hong Kong where vi­o­lent pro­test­ers are hurt­ing its econ­omy, ex­perts said, with Ja­pan be­com­ing the lat­est coun­try to sim­plify its visa ap­pli­ca­tion process.

Ac­cord­ing to the Xin­hua News Agency, Ja­pan opened an on­line process on Tues­day for sin­gle-trip tourist visas for Chi­nese trav­el­ers.

Rus­sia has de­cided to open on­line ap­pli­ca­tions for tourist visas start­ing in Jan­uary 2021, huanqiu.com re­ported on July 27. Uzbek­istan started to al­low on­line Chi­nese ap­pli­ca­tions for tourist visas in July last year.

July and Au­gust used to be heated tourist sea­sons for Hong Kong, said Zhou Xishun, deputy sec­re­tary gen­eral of the China Tourist Ho­tel As­so­ci­a­tion. But this year, the on­go­ing chaotic and in­creas­ingly vi­o­lent protests in Hong Kong have put pres­sure on the city’s tourism in­dus­try, es­pe­cially when other com­pet­ing des­ti­na­tions are rolling out friendly poli­cies to at­tract more Chi­nese main­land tourists.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by za­obao.com, the over­all ho­tel oc­cu­pancy rate in Hong Kong dropped by 2 per­cent in June, and in ar­eas where the ri­ots took place, the oc­cu­pancy rate de­creased more than 10 per­cent.

On the Kowloon side, ho­tel rates are ex­pected to drop 5-10 per­cent due to the ef­fects of the ri­ots, the re­port said.

The ri­ot­ers in Hong Kong are urged to stop their ac­tions oth­er­wise it will do huge dam­age to the re­gion’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, analysts said. Hong Kong Fi­nan­cial Sec­re­tary Paul Chan Mo-po said on Sun­day that the anti-ex­tra­di­tion protests will fur­ther com­pound its eco­nomic trou­bles and tar­nish its busi­ness en­vi­ron­ment.

Mean­while, des­ti­na­tions like Ja­pan are tak­ing mea­sures to at­tract Chi­nese trav­el­ers. Ac­cord­ing to yi­cai.com, the num­ber of Chi­nese vis­i­tors to Ja­pan in­creased 11.7 per­cent to 4.53 mil­lion in the first half of 2019, with spend­ing of 895 bil­lion yen ($8.25 bil­lion).

The new pol­icy of on­line visa ap­pli­ca­tions will make Ja­pan even more at­trac­tive, ex­perts said.

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