'Hong Kong safe' search query increases in volume as tourist arrivals fall sharply

Mainland Chinese tourists make up the bulk of visitor arrivals to the city.

Kayla Wong | August 14, 2019, 12:18 AM

Tourist arrivals to Hong Kong have seen a sharp drop from the second half of July.

This was according to the the BBC, which cited the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Fewer inbound flights to Hong Kong

The number of flight bookings to Hong Kong has dropped too.

Hong Kong flagship carrier Cathay Pacific has taken a hit as well.

Its chairman, John Slosar, said in a statement that the "local political unrest" has led to a "significant fall-off in future bookings over the next few months".

Despite telling its staff it would not stop them from joining the protests last week, the airline has since changed its tune and warned that any staff involved in the protests would be fired.

Visitors worried about safety

Protests have ended in violent clashes between the Hong Kong riot police and protesters.

This has resulted in many tourists fearing for their safety should they visit the Special Administrative Region under mainland China.

There has been an upsurge in the search for the term "Hong Kong safe", BBC reported.

According to BBC, a travel agency in Shenzhen also told Radio Free Asia (RFA) that many mainland Chinese had cancelled their trips to Hong Kong lately.

Protest continues for second day at Hong Kong airport

The Hong Kong airport has cancelled all remaining flights for a second day after thousands of protesters staged yet another demonstration in the airport on Tuesday, Aug. 13.

Protesters also blocked passengers from entering the departure hall and preventing them from boarding their flights.

The purpose, it now appears, is for protesters to hurt Hong Kong economically.

Most tourists are from mainland China

Visitors from mainland China make up an overwhelming majority of the total number of visitors to Hong Kong.

According to the Hong Kong Tourism Board, visitor arrivals from mainland China number more than 27 million from January to June this year.

While Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, and the United States follow after, the figure that comes second is not even close to those from the mainland -- 920,000 visitors arrived from Taiwan in the same period of time.

The drop in tourist numbers have also affected popular tourist destinations such as Hong Kong Disneyland.

Mainland Chinese tourists make up the second largest group of visitors each year, after the locals.

Top image via PHILIP FONG/AFP/Getty Images