Hong Kong to aid tourism sector hit hard by violence
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government has promised to assist the tourism sector that is reeling from the plummeting visitor numbers amid the months-long unrest.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau said Thursday that visits made to Hong Kong dipped by over 50 percent year-on-year in the first week of October.
The weeklong National Day holiday starting from October 1 in the Chinese mainland has been a peak tourist season for Hong Kong, a popular destination among mainland shoppers. But this year, the prolonged unrest has led many tourists to shun the special administrative region for safety reasons.
Hong Kong's pillar sectors such as tourism and retailing have felt the pinch, with hotel occupancy falling 28 percent in August from a year earlier and total retail sales down 23 percent, Yau said.
Yau on Saturday met with delegates from the tourist sector, who urged the government to support tourism practitioners and help them tide over the difficulties caused by the recent outbreaks of violence.
In response, the official said the government would continue to implement supportive measures, including offering training courses, providing funding and loan schemes, and waiving tour guide licence fees to help revive the tourism industry.