Hong Kong protests affect mainland commuters

Hundreds of flights to Hong Kong International Airport were canceled due to a strike on Monday. The chaos not only left local travelers stranded, but has also disrupted travel from the mainland.


(File Photo: CGTN)

Jiang Yunfan, a Shanghai resident, planned to go to Hong Kong on Tuesday, but her flight was canceled. "I have to re-book a flight to Macao on Wednesday, and my hotel booking in Hong Kong can’t be refunded. I lost around 2,000 yuan," she said.  

Flights have resumed gradually since Tuesday. However, some mainland visitors are reconsidering their travel plans. 

Wang Jue, another Shanghai resident, said that she was thinking of bringing her child to Hong Kong for the summer holidays. She is now looking for alternatives due to the security concerns. 

"July and August usually see a boom in travel to Hong Kong. We have seen much fewer travelers asking for and purchasing Hong Kong travel products," Wang Rencong, store manager of Spring Tour, said.

Hong Kong attracted a record 65.1 million visitors in 2018, with nearly four in five coming from the Chinese mainland. The city has been a popular destination for travelers from the mainland since the individual visit scheme was first implemented in 2003. 

But the escalating protests and chaos in the city have put off many potential visitors. Spring Tour, a major travel agency on the mainland, has seen a drop of 70 percent to 80 percent in its sales of Hong Kong travel products in June and July. 

Zhou Weihong, deputy general manager of Spring Tour, said, "The chaos is not concentrated and has lasted for some time. Travelers want to visit safe and friendly places. We hope that Hong Kong can return to order and rule of law quickly." 

Tourism insiders said the situation in Hong Kong may have a longer term impact on its tourism industry, with more visitors choosing other, more peaceful destinations.