Visitors to Hong Kong drop sharply

City had just 199,000 arrivals in February, 96% less than it received in this month last year

Visitors to Hong Kong drop sharply
All people entering Hong Kong from mainland China will be subject to 14 days of compulsory quarantine as the city scrambles to fend off the spread of the novel coronavirus. Photo: Asia Times

By Huang Wanyi and Xu Jiangshan 

On Monday, the Hong Kong Tourism Board announced that the number of visitors who arrived in Hong Kong in February fell to 199,000 – an extraordinary year-on-year decrease of 96%.

The figure was only half the level of the city's worst ever month – when Hong Kong was hit by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS outbreak, in 2003. 

The prime reason for this is because, on February 8, Hong Kong implemented a mandatory 14-day quarantine measure on incoming travellers from China.

It has also required all travellers to use just three entry points – the international airport, the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge or Shenzhen Bay Port only. 

Hong Kong's Tourism Board expects the number of incoming visitors to decrease even further this month because of the coronavirus, otherwise known as Covid-19.

But after that the Board – and many Hong Kong residents – hope that arrivals will steadily increase to the far greater numbers that the city used to enjoy. 

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