Demonstrations cause a 5.4% drop in flight bookings from Asia
A report from ForwardKeys, which analyses over 17 million flight bookings a day, has revealed that the recent wave of demonstrations in Hong Kong, against the controversial extradition bill, has had the effect of deterring people from making plans to visit the city.
In the four-week period from 16th June – 13th July, which was marked by a two million strong demonstration accompanied by a general strike and riots on 16th June, the siege of police headquarters on 21st June, the storming of the Legislative Council building on 1st July and riot police charging a group of protesters with batons on 7th July, flight bookings to Hong Kong from Asian markets* fell by 5.4% on the equivalent period last year. In the first fortnight (16th – 29th June), bookings fell 9.0% and in the second (30th June – 13th July), 2.2%. This sharp set-back in bookings reversed a positive trend in which bookings for the first six and a half months of the year were 6.6% up on 2018.
(*The bookings data excludes China and Taiwan because a fall in bookings from those destinations in the latter part of June could also be explained by the timing of the Dragon Boat Festival, which fell 11 days earlier this year than it did in 2018.)
Jameson Wong, Director of Business Development, APAC, ForwardKeys, said: “Whilst the numbers do not look good, things are not all bad for Hong Kong’s visitor economy. So far, the adverse media coverage of the demonstrations has not caused an overall decline in long-haul bookings to Hong Kong and the number of Asian bookings made in 2019 is still ahead of those made during the same time period in 2018 – although growth has slowed substantially since the mass protest of 16th June. Also, it seems as if the lowest period occurred prior to the storming of the Legislative Council. However, on the less optimistic side, there were further demonstrations after our most recent numbers were run, so another downturn is possible.”