The bar industry in Hong Kong has taken a significant hit this year, with business dropping by 20 percent compared to the pandemic period.
Industry experts believe that the government's efforts to suppress the "night economy" and drinking culture have contributed to the decline.
Ben Leung Lap-yan, the president of the Licensed Bar and Club Association of Hong Kong, spoke about the issue on a radio program, noting that bars and entertainment venues were unfairly blamed for the spread of the virus, and that drinking was labeled as a potential cause of cancer.
"People feel that going out for a drink at night is unhealthy," Leung said.
The bar area was once bustling on weekends, but now, Leung said, "the atmosphere is nowhere to be seen." He also claimed that the decline in bar business was attributed to "revenge style traveling" by Hongkongers after the borders reopened, and that bar-goers were now opting to spend their weekends in the mainland.
While Leung acknowledged that tourists do not make up much of the bar business, he believes that the government still needs to assist in promoting the nightlife culture.
For instance, he suggested that the government mention the culinary experience in the evening when attracting visitors.
The bar industry's struggles come as the city grapples with the ongoing COVID
-19 pandemic and the subsequent government measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.
While the restrictions have lifted in recent months, many people remain cautious about going out at night, potentially contributing to the industry's woes.