ong Kong’s pro-democracy, anti-extradition protests appear to be scaring visitors away from the former British colony which saw a precipitous decline in tourist numbers last month.
While July saw only a 5 percent year-on-year decline in the number of visitors, that plummeted down to a nearly 40 percent decline in August, according to Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan.
This marks a drop greater than anything Hong Kong has seen since May 2003 when a SARS outbreak saw arrivals sink by almost 70 percent.
Hong Kong welcomed about 65 million visitors last year, most of them from mainland China.
In August, protesters made things especially difficult on tourists, swarming the airport and managing to shut it down on two occasions, causing hundreds of flights to be canceled and pissing off a number of travelers.
Chan noted that many other areas of the city’s economy have been hard hit by the protests which are now into their 15th week. Some economists have predicted that Hong Kong may well fall into a recession later this year.