Hotels

Ovolo Group boss calls for industry assistance during “trying times” in Hong Kong, as protests continue

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Ovolo Group’s founder and CEO has called on the Hong Kong government for assistance for the local hospitality industry due to the “current economic downturn” in the region.

Girish Jhunjhnuwala said the situation in Hong Kong has been felt across “all corners of the city”, including the retail, aviation and financial sectors, with the tourism industry being the hardest hit.

Hong Kong has hosted more than 16 weeks of consecutive pro-democracy protests by Hong Kongers, which began in late March due to a now abandoned plan to allow extraditions to mainland China. The region is also facing the impact of an ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

Since Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests began in late March, the Hang Seng 100 Index – composed of Hong Kong’s 100 largest companies – has seen a drop of more than 1,000 index points as of 20 September.

In reaction to the current situation in Hong Kong, Girish said tourism has always been a vital pillar of the Hong Kong economy, with the city acting as a hub for business and leisure travellers from across the world.

“It’s devastating to see the effect that the recent situation in our city has had on local businesses, particularly those of us in the hospitality industry,” he said.

“As reported by the [South China Morning Post], tourist arrivals YOY have fallen by five per cent in July and an alarming 40 per cent in August … group arrivals from the mainland have also dropped by 90 per cent in the first 10 days of September.”

“When our businesses weather tough times, those whom are hit the hardest are not the top-level executives, but our team members – the employees working at the forefront of our organisations.”

Girish is calling on the Hong Kong government and Hong Kong Monetary Authority to “step in” to lend a hand to local businesses to “protect Hong Kong’s status as a thriving tourism hub” for years to come.

The Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters show no signs of backing down until their five demands are met. These are: for the now removed extradition bill to China to be banned, for leader Carrie Lam to step down, an inquiry into police brutality, for those who have been arrested to be released, and greater democratic freedoms, as reported by CNN.

On Sunday, protesters attempted a “stress test” of Hong Kong International Airport. According to SBS News, this is code for disrupting travel links or occupying buildings.

In a bid to stop protesters making their way to the airport, transport operators reportedly reduced the number of stations the city’s Airport Express train would stop at and pared down bus services – effectively dissuading plans by protesters to disrupt transport.

In August, Hong Kong International Airport – one of the busiest in the world – was forced to cancel all flights in and out of the region for two days after thousands of peaceful protesters entered the airport for a sit-in. Another disruption on 1 September saw road and rail links to the airport blocked.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Road & Rail

Road & Rail Wrap: Avis launches subscription service, Rail Europe’s new site and app coming soon + MORE

After stopping off the side of the highway for a quick kip, Travel Weekly’s Road & Rail Wrap is back, all nice and refreshed.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Cyprus offers to pay travellers COVID-19 bills

Cyprus has gone to new lengths to lure travellers back to the Mediterranean by offering to pay costs for anyone whose trip is ruined by COVID-19.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Major Japanese theme parks ask guest not to scream on rollercoasters

As the world begins to reopen, operators have begun rolling out new and creative ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But this is a new one.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Cover-More CEO exits

The global travel insurance provider has waved goodbye to its chief, but not before signing him up to a premium policy.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Afterpay makes online travel play

If COVID-19 wasn’t already enough of a challenge for travel agents, a new OTA has entered the ring.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Tourism Malaysia’s new Aussie director on the destination’s big marketing shift

by Huntley Mitchell

The destination is placing much more of a focus on its digital presence and “smart partnerships”, as it looks to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

How are high flyers dealing with coronavirus? A new jet-to-yacht service seems to be the answer

Are you or your clients keen to avoid cattle class (or any class for that matter) on your first post-coronavirus flight? Start saving your pennies for this new service.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

STUDY: More than half of Aussies are keen to get travelling in the next six months

Find out where, when and how Aussies will hit the road once restrictions are lifted with this handy set of survey results.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Pandemic could push consumers to use agents over OTAs, says Barry Mayo

by Ali Coulton

The TravelManagers chairman has also predicted more bricks-and-mortar agents will make the switch to a home-based model, given the risk of further lockdowns.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Team behind Addicted to Maldives launches domestic-focused DMC

The new offering aims to help curate your clients’ domestic escapades so that you can give them their perfect post-lockdown getaway.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Cruise Wrap: CLIA offers training to non-members, more lines extend pause in operations + MORE

Travel Weekly staff dread Cruise Wrap days because they usually result in our deputy editor singing Enya’s “Orinoco Flow”, until we lock her in a cupboard.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Australian adult entertainer removed from flight over comments about George Floyd protests

This story has a bit of everything – an airline, an adult entertainer and even the ongoing George Floyd protests in the US.

Share

CommentComments