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HK hotels plan price cuts, deals amid protests

September 23, 2019 01:30 PM

HONG KONG:  Hong Kongs hotels were cutting prices, selling "staycation" offers and asking staff to take unpaid leave in an effort to boost their business which has been hit hard by the ongoing anti-government protests in the city.

But trade experts have said that their efforts were unlikely to turn the tide ahead of predictions for a bleak Golden Week in October, China's biggest public holiday, and the rest of the year, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday.

Bookings for Golden Week had filled less than 30 per cent of hotel rooms on average across the city, compared with 60 per cent around this time in previous years, said lawmaker Yiu Si-wing, who represents the tourism sector.

This meant the actual occupancy rate could turn out to be as low as 60 per cent, he said, down from nearly 100 per cent in previous years during the seven-day holiday period starting from the National Day on October 1 - which also marks China's 70th anniversary this year.

The gloomy forecast came despite the efforts of hotel operators to cope with the sharpest downturn in Hong Kong's tourism sector since the Sars outbreak in 2003.

In August, the city's tourist arrivals tumbled about 40 per cent. A total of 34 countries or regions issued warnings or alerts for travellers heading to Hong Kong, as of September 13.

Average room rates also fell to HK$1, 075 ($137) from HK$1, 226.

Luxury hotels were also offering special deals for local residents and promoting dining options.

One of the city's most iconic five-star hotels, Mandarin Oriental in Central, recently unveiled a HK$2, 800 package that covered a night in a room with a view of the Statue Square and a complimentary minibar for Hong Kong ID card holders. The room was otherwise booked for HK$4, 000 a night.

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