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Saturday, Mar 02, 2024

2.7m 'revenge' travelers left town

2.7m 'revenge' travelers left town

More than 2.7 million Hongkongers traveled during the Ching Ming and Easter holidays - 2.5 times more than the 760,000 inbound visitors.
Restaurants said business dropped 10 percent compared to usual weekends.

The SAR's 13 border control points counted 6.7 million people during the first 10 days of April - 26 percent fewer than the Immigration Department's estimate of 9.3 million travelers.

In the first three days of the Easter holiday - Friday to Sunday - some 858,000 residents left the SAR to go overseas or to the mainland, while 245,000 visitors arrived, with 77 percent of them mainlanders.

More than 553,000 people including returning Hongkongers entered on Monday, the last day of the break, with Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau and Shenzhen Bay the busiest entry points.

Eatery businesses suffered a slump amid the outflow of Hongkongers, said Simon Wong Kit-lung, honorary president of the Institution of Dining Professionals.

"The revenue during the four-day holiday was even worse than a usual weekend - about 10 percent less," he said.

"Although it might be unfair to compare with pre-Covid levels of business it was 20 percent less than during the Easter holiday before the pandemic."

The hotel sector recorded an average 80 percent of room occupancy throughout the holiday due to the staycation business. Some hotels near tourist spots were even up to 90 percent full.

But the sector faces an acute manpower shortage, said Nerine Yip Lau-ching, secretary general of the Hotels, Food and Beverage Employees Association.

"We are facing a serious shortage of staff, especially in housekeeping and catering," Yip said.

"A housekeeping staff member normally tidies up about 15 rooms every day, but due to the increase in occupancy rates during the Easter break they had to work overtime every day in tidying three to six rooms more."

Yip added the tourism sector is also pessimistic about the "Golden Week Effect," referring to the Labour Day holiday week from May 1 to 5 - the first post-Covid national holiday.

Meanwhile, some 480,000 visitors traveled to Macau during the holiday period.

Macau's Public Security Police Force recorded 2.9 million people entering and leaving from Wednesday to Monday.

Some 480,000 tourists arrived in the SAR during the long holiday, with more than 190,000 people using the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge.

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