Hong Kong protests hit tourism in Southeast Asia

Hong Kong Protests Hit Tourism In Southeast Asia

Tourism officials in Southeast Asia have warned about disruptive effects on tourism caused by the Hong Kong protests and temporary closure of Hong Kong International Airport, one of the world’s busiest aviation hubs used by more than 75 million passengers last year.

The closure spread jitters in Southeast Asia’s tourism-oriented countries, particularly Thailand and Singapore, as it held back Hong Kong residents from going abroad. It also forced connecting travelers to cancel or alter their plans.

A research arm of Thailand’s fourth largest bank, Kasikorn Research Center, estimated on August 13 that Southeast Asia’s second largest economy could lose 1.4 billion baht ($15.4 million) if the hub is shut for seven days. “We will lose up to 30,000 visitors,” said the research company, warning that August is high season for Hong Kong people to go on summer vacations.

Just over a million tourists arrived from Hong Kong to Thailand in 2018, representing 2.65% of total visitors from around the world. Their expenditures totaled 42 billion baht. Tourism accounts for 20% of Thailand’s gross domestic product.

In 2018, 1.6 million visitors to Thailand came from the Americas, and 6.7 million from Europe. Many caught a connecting flight in Hong Kong. But a prolonged closure of this key hub would act as a roadblock.

The Association of Thai Travel Agents said travel agencies have cut many tour packages to Hong Kong. President Thanapol Cheewarattanaporn estimates that tour companies slashed the volume of tour packages to Hong Kong by up to half as most Thai travelers shifted their travel plans to other countries in Asia, the Bangkok Post reported.

About 465,000 Hong Kong residents arrived in Singapore in 2017, and 473,000 in 2018, accounting for 3% of total arrivals. In both 2017 and 2018, August was the peak, with over 55,000 Hong Kong visitors arriving in the city-state.

Protests against a now suspended bill to allow extradition to China has gripped Hong Kong since June. Actions by irritated protesters have grown increasingly violent recently.

Since August 9, they have repeatedly occupied the airport, blocking access to check-in desks and immigration checkpoints, causing over 600 inbound and outbound flight cancellations on the first two days of protest.

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Tourism officials in Southeast Asia have warned about disruptive effects on tourism caused by the Hong Kong protests and temporary closure of Hong Kong International Airport, one of the world’s busiest aviation hubs used by more than 75 million passengers last year. The closure spread jitters in Southeast Asia's tourism-oriented countries, particularly Thailand and Singapore, as it held back Hong Kong residents from going abroad. It also forced connecting travelers to cancel or alter their plans. A research arm of Thailand's fourth largest bank, Kasikorn Research Center, estimated on August 13 that Southeast Asia's second largest economy could lose 1.4...

Hong Kong Protests Hit Tourism In Southeast Asia

Tourism officials in Southeast Asia have warned about disruptive effects on tourism caused by the Hong Kong protests and temporary closure of Hong Kong International Airport, one of the world’s busiest aviation hubs used by more than 75 million passengers last year.

The closure spread jitters in Southeast Asia’s tourism-oriented countries, particularly Thailand and Singapore, as it held back Hong Kong residents from going abroad. It also forced connecting travelers to cancel or alter their plans.

A research arm of Thailand’s fourth largest bank, Kasikorn Research Center, estimated on August 13 that Southeast Asia’s second largest economy could lose 1.4 billion baht ($15.4 million) if the hub is shut for seven days. “We will lose up to 30,000 visitors,” said the research company, warning that August is high season for Hong Kong people to go on summer vacations.

Just over a million tourists arrived from Hong Kong to Thailand in 2018, representing 2.65% of total visitors from around the world. Their expenditures totaled 42 billion baht. Tourism accounts for 20% of Thailand’s gross domestic product.

In 2018, 1.6 million visitors to Thailand came from the Americas, and 6.7 million from Europe. Many caught a connecting flight in Hong Kong. But a prolonged closure of this key hub would act as a roadblock.

The Association of Thai Travel Agents said travel agencies have cut many tour packages to Hong Kong. President Thanapol Cheewarattanaporn estimates that tour companies slashed the volume of tour packages to Hong Kong by up to half as most Thai travelers shifted their travel plans to other countries in Asia, the Bangkok Post reported.

About 465,000 Hong Kong residents arrived in Singapore in 2017, and 473,000 in 2018, accounting for 3% of total arrivals. In both 2017 and 2018, August was the peak, with over 55,000 Hong Kong visitors arriving in the city-state.

Protests against a now suspended bill to allow extradition to China has gripped Hong Kong since June. Actions by irritated protesters have grown increasingly violent recently.

Since August 9, they have repeatedly occupied the airport, blocking access to check-in desks and immigration checkpoints, causing over 600 inbound and outbound flight cancellations on the first two days of protest.

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