No one knows how far Coronavirus will hit Hong Kong yet. But this epidemic has struck HK tourism, entertainment, retail and F&B industry after months of Protests.
Coronavirus outbreak in China has caused a global panic. Not only in China, infected cases are also accelerating in Hong Kong. Will Coronavirus hit Hong Kong further after months of continuous protests?
Apparently, Coronavirus can be human-to-human transmission. The fear of the virus spread has started to hit a number of industries in Hong Kong, especially the tourism-related industries.
Coronavirus started to hit Hong Kong
Unexpectedly, this epidemic has come in a sudden around Lunar New Year. Before that, we still hoped everything would soon resume normal after months of protests.
Unfortunately, Hong Kong might face another challenge again. It will probably be harder to deal with than the recent protests.
On the first day of Lunar New Year, Hong Kong Government declared the outbreak of Coronavirus an “emergency”. That means the city is now in the highest warning tier.
At the same time, the Government cancelled all official Chinese New Year celebrations. In addition, non-tertiary schools will extend CNY holidays for two more weeks until 17 February.
Hong Kong Standard Chartered Marathon was also cancelled. Around 70,000 runners from Hong Kong and overseas have already enrolled the marathon race. This event should bring in extra business to airlines, hotels and restaurants of Hong Kong.
How Coronavirus hit Hong Kong further?
Cathay Pacific offers refunds on all Mainland China flights until end of February. It is also applicable to Cathay Dragon flights.
Airline passengers are susceptible to the spread of airborne virus. More cancellations of flight bookings for China/Hong Kong are expected.
Chinese authorities have already closed off travel into and out of the virus-hit city of Wuhan. It would be an effective way to stop the spread of virus. But ticket sales of airlines and other transports have been affected.
(2) Travel Agents –
Some travel agencies have cancelled their group tours to Mainland China over the Lunar New Year period.
According to Travel Industry Council, more than 2,600 tours had been cancelled. As a consequence, it has affected more than 90,000 customers.
(3) Entertainment –
Starting from 26 February, Ocean Park and Disneyland have temporarily closed until further notice. Both amusement parks attract millions of visitors every year. The ongoing Lunar New Year is traditionally the peak period for people coming to visit Hong Kong.
Following closures of these two theme parks, Canton-pop singer Andy Lau has also called off his concerts scheduled in February. It has definitely upset more than 100,000 fans.
In addition, Wuhan virus outbreak is a blow to cinemas. Chinese New Year is usually a golden period for film releases. However, most of the cinemas in Hong Kong are half empty in current public holidays.
(4) Hotels –
Due to the recent protests, number of visitors to Hong Kong has dropped substantially. According to Hong Kong Tourism Board, it has decreased from 6 million by November 2018 to 2.65 million by November 2019. More than 56 percent!
All hotels reported occupancy at around 66% in November 2019, which was a big set back as compared with over 90% a year ago.
Amid the fear of virus spread, visitors will probably cancel their bookings to Hong Kong. Major hotel chains have received more enquiries on booking cancellations and rescheduling.
(5) Restaurants –
Months of protests in Hong Kong has already led to a number of restaurant closures. Even worse, Coronavirus outlook has further hit our F&B industry.
We have started to do whatever precautions to avoid the infection. Apart from masks on face, people are staying more at home instead of eating out or gathering with friends.
Definitely, the fear of virus spread has hit the restaurants and retail industry. Restaurant chains, such as Starbucks and McDonalds, have temporarily closed a number of outlets in Wuhan and neighbouring cities.
If the virus continues, Hong Kong restaurants and tourism-related industry will suffer most.
(6) Retail –
Needless to say, Hong Kong retail industry witnessed the worst year in 2019 due to the drastic drop of tourists to the city. Mainland tourists are the major source of our retail sales, especially luxurious and cosmetics products.
As number of visitors to Hong Kong are less amid of Coronavirus outbreak, overall sales of retail industry is expected to drop further.