Hong Kong tourist arrivals enjoyed a mini-revival in June with 80 per cent more visitors than the previous month amid the coronavirus pandemic, but that was still nearly 100 per cent down on 2019.
Latest figures from the city’s tourism board, which were released on Wednesday, showed that 14,600 people visited last month, compared with 8,100 in May. June’s numbers represented a 99.7 per cent drop year on year.
Overall in the first six months of the year, arrivals were down 90 per cent at 3.52 million from the same period in 2019, the board said.
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With Hong Kong now battling a third wave of coronavirus infections, and with stricter social-distancing measures in place, the board was forced to postpone a campaign designed to boost the flagging industry by encouraging residents to spend and travel locally.
“The tourism industry remains in winter,” sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said. “We don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel yet.”
Although all but three border checkpoints remained closed, 18 per cent more mainland visitors, or 6,633 people, crossed the border into the city in June, compared with May. The number was down 99.8 per cent from the same period last year.
Yiu pointed out that most who came into the city were drawn by real needs, with the 14-day mandatory quarantine still in place on either side of the border.
Mainland visitors accounted for 45 per cent of the city’s total arrivals in June and the rest were from long-haul and short-haul trips, new markets, as well as Macau.
The tighter social-distancing rules have placed tougher restrictions on restaurants, which can only serve takeaway between 6pm and 5am, and 12 different types of venues have been ordered to close.
The two theme parks only resumed operations on June 18 after keeping visitors away for almost five months.
For authorities, the number of untraceable Covid-19 infections – 85 of 236, or 36 per cent of local cases recorded between July 6 and July 15 are of unknown origin – has caused concern.
The 19 new infections on Wednesday pushed the total number of coronavirus cases in Hong Kong to 1,588, with 10 related deaths.
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This article Hong Kong tourism enjoys mini-revival but number of visitors nearly 100 per cent down on last year first appeared on South China Morning Post