HK Protests: Tourism & Retail Sectors Begin to Report Losses
As protests in Hong Kong continue for their ninth straight week in a row - including three days of peaceful sit-ins at Hong Kong International Airport - representatives from the retail and tourism sectors are beginning to feel the impact on their business.
The protests over a controversial extradition bill have sparked fierce clashes with police, and brought street, tunnel and mass transit closures and delays. Reports from the ground indicate that tourists from the Chinese mainland have all but dried up.
A Hong Kong businessperson was quoted by Al Jazeera as likening the unrest to an economic "tsunami."
The founder of one Hong Kong-based clothing retail chains, G2000, told CNN sales in some of his stores in Hong Kong are down by as much as 30 percent.
Hong Kong-based airlines are feeling the impact the most - including from a general strike last week which resulted in the cancellation of more than 200 flights. Cathay Pacific, which reported second quarter results in the black, has warned that bookings for July are down as are for the months going forward.
In a sign of further troubles ahead, China’s aviation regulator is insisting that airline staff who took part in the Hong Kong protests not fly on any of the Cathay flights into China. The move represents an unprecedented intrusion into the daily operations of one of Hong Kong’s flagship companies and could foreshadow more problems to come for Cathay.
Also this week, new security protocols were introduced in the departure hall of HKIA, requiring passengers to endure extra checks.
On Saturday, families and tourists posted on social media about being caught up in tear gas fired by police in the confined space of the mass transit system. It is such events that have led many countries to upgrade their travel warnings for Hong Kong, with Australia and the United States being the latest.
In a written reply to questions, the Mandarin Oriental Group, which has two properties in Hong Kong - including the iconic flagship property in Central, said it was “business as usual.” Said Shevaun Leach, Regional Director of Marketing Communications: “We have comprehensive Fire, Life, Health and Safety protocols in place. Colleagues and guests have access to our hotel management team who are available to assist with any questions they may have. As ever, the safety and security of our guests and colleagues is of paramount importance at all Mandarin Oriental properties, at all times.”