How unrest has affected Hong Kong tourism

Hong Kong Airlines is suspending service to three more international cities beginning in February.

Singapore Airlines, China Eastern and Virgin Australia have also had to cut flights.

And, it's not just the airlines feeling the pinch. Business owners have taken a hit, as well.

CGTN's Jim Spellman reports.


Hong Kong has been a popular tourist destination known for its majestic views from Victoria Peak.

But six months of sometimes-violent protests have taken a toll. According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, tourist arrivals in October were down more than 40 percent over last year, the biggest drop since the SARS outbreak in 2003.

Miss Au runs a concession stand at Victoria Peak. She says last year 40 to 50 tour groups came through each day. Now it's fewer than ten.

"One year ago I brought in 20,000 Hong Kong Dollars a month, now it's 2,000- 3,000," she told us.

A year ago on a beautiful Saturday the iconic star ferry would be packed, but today there are plenty of empty seats.

The biggest decrease is with Chinese mainland visitors - down almost half from a year ago. Some fear they will be will targeted by protesters.

Many mainland visitors stop by Golden Bauhinia Square for pictures with this statue, erected in 1997 to mark the return of Hong Kong to China.

Miss Wong is a tour guide there. A year ago she led 20 tours a day. Now it's fewer than five.

"The number of tour groups is decreasing, but the ones that come still feel confident about Hong Kong," she said.

That includes Ms. Xu who has visited Hong King before, and this time brought her family. She says the relative calm of the last two weeks made her feel Hong Kong was once again safe for mainland visitors.

"My friend in Hong King told me that Hong Kong is safe. Things are getting back to normal and the protests have become more peaceful," Ms. Xu said.

But she said she will be sure to avoid any demonstrations.

Hong Kong's tourism industry hopes the protests will subside so the city returns to normal and the tourists return.