Hong Kong firms said in a quarterly survey they were more optimistic about their output in the fourth quarter of this year than the third, but the poll may not take into account the effects of Occupy Central. The Quarterly Business Tendency Survey, conducted by the Census and Statistics Department, asked for views from 560 companies across 10 major sectors to predict short-term local economic performance. "In this type of survey on expectations, the views collected … are affected by events in the community occurring around the time," a government spokesman said, referring to the Occupy Central protests. The survey was conducted from September 8 to October 14, but most of the questionnaires were completed by the end of September so would not reflect the impact of Occupy Central, the statement cautioned. Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa said yesterday that Occupy had disrupted business, led to reduced credit card spending and caused hotel occupancy rates to fall by 20 to 30 per cent. Travel Industry Council data showed the number of tour groups visiting Hong Kong rose 90 per cent to 380 groups a day from October 1 to October 22. The survey found 17 per cent of businesses expected improvement while 10 per cent expected a decline. The survey asks about an individual company's business, rather than asking for predictions for the sector as a whole. Some 74 per cent of firms expected the business climate to remain unchanged - up from 72 per cent in the previous quarter. Most sectors expected employment to increase compared to the third quarter, and most firms said they anticipated prices would remain unchanged.