HK troubles see 5.4% drop in flight bookings from Asia

July 19, 2019

HONG KONG - A report from ForwardKeys, which analyses over 17 million flight bookings a day, has revealed that the recent wave of demonstrations in Hong Kong against the controversial extradition bill has had the effect of deterring people from making plans to visit the city.

ForwardKeys analyses more than 17 million flight booking transactions a day.

In the four-week period from June 16 - July13, which was marked by a two million-strong demonstration accompanied by a general strike and riots on June 16, the siege of police headquarters on June 21, the storming of the Legislative Council building on July 1 and riot police charging a group of protesters with batons on July 7, flight bookings to Hong Kong from Asian markets* fell by 5.4% on the equivalent period last year.

 In the first fortnight (June 16 -29), bookings fell 9.0% and in the second (June 30 - July 13), by 2.2%. This sharp set-back in bookings reversed a positive trend in which bookings for the first six and a half months of the year were 6.6% up on 2018.

Olivier Ponti, VP Insights, ForwardKeys, said: "While the numbers do not look good, things are not all bad for Hong Kong's visitor economy.

"So far, adverse media coverage of the demonstrations has not caused an overall decline in long-haul bookings to Hong Kong, and the number of Asian bookings made in 2019 is still ahead of those made during the same time period in 2018 - although growth has slowed substantially since the mass protest of June 16.  

"Also, it seems as if the lowest period occurred prior to the storming of the Legislative Council. However, on the less optimistic side, there were further demonstrations after our most recent numbers were run, so another downturn is possible." (ATI).