Protests in Hong Kong over a controversial new extradition bill have not deterred long-haul visitors, despite prominent coverage of the unrest throughout global media.
Millions have taken to the streets of Hong Kong over the past month to challenge the proposed new legislation, resulting in violent clashes between police and protesters.
New data from flight booking analyst ForwardKeys, though, has found that while Hong Kong bookings from Asian markets fell 5.4% year-on-year in the four weeks to 13 July, there had been “no overall decline” in long-haul bookings.
Prior to the unrest, bookings from Asian markets during the six and a half months to 16 June had been up 6.6% on 2018.
“While the numbers do not look good, things are not all bad for Hong Kong’s visitor economy,” said Olivier Ponte, ForwardKeys’ vice-president insights.
“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 16 June.
“Also, it seems as if the lowest period occurred prior to the storming of the [Hong Kong] legislative council [on 1 July].
“However, on the less optimistic side, there were further demonstrations after our most recent numbers were run, so another downturn is possible.”