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Monday, Apr 22, 2024

Hong Kong hotel room rates surge ahead of Labour Day ‘golden week’ holiday

Hong Kong hotel room rates surge ahead of Labour Day ‘golden week’ holiday

A Post check on room rates for several hotels on travel platform Trip.com finds prices have risen by between 170 and 540 per cent for May 1.

Hong Kong hotel room rates have surged by as much as five times in the run-up to the Labour Day “golden week” holiday, the Post has found, even though bookings remain below pre-pandemic levels according to an industry leader.

Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners executive director Caspar Tsui Ying-wai, a former government minister, on Monday said he was optimistic that occupancy rates would reach 90 per cent during the holiday starting on May 1 although bookings were not coming in as fast as in 2018 and 2019.

“Bookings for this year’s golden week are slower because mainland Chinese travellers are more indecisive with more destinations to choose from. But still I am confident they can reach 90 per cent in popular areas later this week,” Tsui said.

He said soaring prices were normal because of the increased demand but they were still 10 per cent below 2018 and 2019 figures.

A Post check on room rates for several hotels on travel platform Trip.com found prices had risen by between 170 and 540 per cent for May 1, compared with a week earlier on April 24. .

Four-star hotel iClub To Kwa Wan recorded the highest increase, from HK$693 per night on April 24 to HK$4,459 on May 1 – a 543 per cent rise in prices.

Rates for the four-star Hotel COZi Resort in Tuen Mun rose 215 per cent from HK$577 on Monday night for a superior room to HK$1,818 on Labour Day.

The price for a one-night stay in a superior city-view room at the five-star Nina Hotel Tsuen Wan West jumped from HK$824 for Monday to HK$2,551 on May 1, a 210 per cent rise.

Rates at three-star properties also shot up, with standard rooms at the Silka Seaview hotel in Yau Ma Tei rising 189 per cent from HK$553 to HK$1,598 in the same period.

At the Hong Kong Disneyland Hotel, a standard room will set guests back HK$7,656, up 114 per cent from HK$3,580 earlier.

Jack Cheung Ki-tang, a director of CTS HK Metropark Hotels Management which operates four properties in the city, said bookings had reached 90 per cent as of Monday and room rates had surged more than 20 per cent depending on the location.

The Travel Industry Council estimates 600,000 mainlanders will visit Hong Kong between Saturday and May 5, with more than 80 per cent of them individual travellers.

Tsui said that in an effort to provide most of their rooms over golden week despite manpower shortages, hotels would either arrange for employees to take leave before the long holiday or give them time off later.

The estimated tourist influx, however, was still lower than pre-pandemic levels, he noted. Immigration Department data shows that 1.27 million people entered the city from the mainland from April 30 to May 5 in 2019.

Asked if soaring hotel prices would put off visitors, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po said he hoped “more friends regardless whether from overseas or the mainland will come and feel Hong Kong after experiencing three years of hardship” when he kicked off the “Happy Hong Kong” campaign on Monday.

Mainland visitors take in the sights around Tsim Sha Tsui.

According to a survey by Trip.com, flight bookings from the mainland to the city increased by 152 times year on year from April 29 to May 5, while hotel bookings surged 52 per cent compared with the previous week.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said the government had set up a team with different plans for golden week in terms of visitors and traffic management.

“We will also take appropriate measures at any time according to the actual situation. Most importantly, a larger number of visitors coming to Hong Kong is a great chance to boost the economy and employment,” Lee said. “I believe Hong Kong residents will welcome them.”

The MTR Corporation said the cross-border high-speed rail would provide an additional 11 pairs of trains between West Kowloon station and Futian from Thursday to May 4 to cater for demand.

Film-goers, meanwhile, can enjoy cut-price movies anywhere in the city on Saturday as part of the “Happy Hong Kong” campaign to boost public morale and consumption. More than 10 food fairs, “sea-land” music performances and an international football team’s visit are lined up for the coming months.

“Cinema Day 2023” allows 200,000 residents to catch films for HK$30, followed by a free “Happy Hong Kong Gourmet Marketplace” to be held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre throughout the weekend.

The government has been aggressively promoting the city for tourism, launching the “Hello Hong Kong” campaign in February to attract at least 1.5 million visitors.

The campaign includes giving away 700,000 free air tickets, spending vouchers and special events, with another HK$100 million (US$12.74 million) worth of coupons for drinks, dining and shopping for visitors.

Hong Kong’s flagship carrier Cathay Pacific Airways on Monday morning rolled out more than 27,000 air tickets to 26 overseas destinations, available to city residents and those in the Greater Bay Area.

The campaign aimed to encourage people from the mainland to visit Hong Kong, and also to travel overseas via Hong Kong.

Last month, Hong Kong International Airport experienced a significant surge in traffic, handling 2.8 million passengers, more than 28 times the number logged in March 2022. Flight movements also more than doubled year on year to 20,130.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board earlier said it partnered with national broadcasters and social media platforms such as Weibo, WeChat and Xiaohongshu to promote the campaign. Registration for the air ticket giveaways to mainland visitors from 14 cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu opened earlier.

Earlier this month, Hong Kong’s catering and retailing sectors reported sluggish business over the Easter long weekend, which was not a holiday on the mainland but resulted in more than 1 million residents leaving the city for a break.

Mainlanders made up almost four in five of the 315,276 visitors over the recent four-day Easter holiday, the city’s first major break since the last remaining Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in February. They also made up four-fifths of the 2.4 million visitors last month.

Before the pandemic, mainlanders made up the bulk of Hong Kong’s tourists with 51 million visiting in 2018 alone.


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