When a reputation gets dented

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Hong Kong is a comparatively small area – only about 430 square miles or a third of the size of Cambridgeshire – in which some seven million people live. For the area, tourism is one of the most important industries since Hong Kong acts as a hub airport in which people change flights for onward destinations in Oceania and Asia

Hong Kong – number one for international visitors in previous years but this last summer

People stopover for a few days, use it as a hopping off stone into china or they come for the many festivals, restaurants and food exhibitions and water pageants. Anyone who has ever been there knows what a vibrant and busy place it is with rarely an opportunity to get bored.

But the demonstrations and violence has driven visitors away. Destination anxiety has broken out amongst potential visitors.

Last Sunday, Paul Chan, the Financial Secretary for Hong Kong wrote that visitor numbers in August were down by 40% compared to the same time last year. As a result hotels that should be almost full are barely half-full. The price you pay for a hotel, he says, has dropped by between 40% and 70%. Retail sales are down because the visitors are staying away and passenger number on the Hong Kong based airline, Cathay Pacific, are also down.

Chan’s problem – and Hong Kong’s is how do you attract visitors back? And how quickly will they come?

Visitors will return when any number of events happen. Firstly they must feel safe and the weekend marches and violence that often accompanies it is a deterrent. Or you can entice people there with knock-down prices for flights and accommodation because there is always a reasonably sized group of people who will travel if the price is right. Finding what that price is, there’s the difficulty.

The reputation of Hong Kong will slowly return because people forget. If the troubles don’t make the weekend or Monday media elsewhere in the world then potential visitors will feel safe in returning.

Who said there is no such thing as bad publicity?

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