Hong Kong hotels cut rates in slow summer
It has not been a good summer for the hotel business.
Hotels Association chairman Victor Chan Kok-wai says bookings have shown no signs of improvement in recent weeks and he expects the pace of reservations will remain "slow" this month and next, even though summer tends to be peak holiday season.
He says while June is usually quiet, preliminary figures indicate the number of reservations last month fell as much as 5 per cent when compared with the same period last year.
Hotels across the city have resorted to reducing rates further to attract guests. "Some dropped as much as 20 per cent year on year," Chan says.
He says the local hotel industry and the Hong Kong Tourism Board have been making every effort to attract foreign tourists, but the effectiveness of such campaigns is never guaranteed.
The spread of Middle East respiratory syndrome in South Korea, a favourite destination of mainland tourists, may give a boost to Hong Kong's tourism sector, Chan says.
"Parents travelling with their children give top priority to safety. And Hong Kong is a safe place," he explains.
He plays down the impact of anti-mainland sentiment in the city on tourist arrivals.
"I have never been told directly by mainland people that it is a reason they are not coming to Hong Kong."
The latest figures show that mainland visitor arrivals picked up in April and May after a year-on-year drop of 10 per cent in March.
In Chan's view, the city does not have enough new tourist attractions.
"I am most disappointed at the slow progress of the West Kowloon Cultural District project," Chan says.
He says more events like the Rugby Sevens and the recent visit by the cruise liner Quantum of the Seas will certainly help.