Tourism workers in HK worried

Updated: 2016-05-12 08:26

By Luis Liuin Hong Kong(China Daily)

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Forty percent of employees in Hong Kong's hotels and beverage industries have voiced worries about their career future, according to a recent survey by an industry association.

The city recorded a 15 percent slump in arrivals from the Chinese mainland in the first quarter of 2016 compared with the same period last year.

Among the respondents to the survey by the Hong Kong Hotels, Food and Beverage Employees Association in April, only 12.5 percent of the employees were optimistic about their jobs and the industry's prospects.

Most of the anxious employees are room attendants, receptionists and catering staff. They fear possible layoffs, saying their companies are firing people and urging workers to use up all the leave they had accumulated, said Barry Kai Hung-chuen, the association's executive officer.

The latest data from the Hong Kong Tourism Board show that the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong decreased by 15.1 percent in the first quarter. The association estimates that the city will receive 54 million visitors this year, 5 million fewer than in 2015.

The slump in mainland visitors has taken a toll on the three- and four-star hotels whose profits come primarily from mainland tourist groups. According to the association, hotels in Sheung Shui and Tsuen Wan of the New Territories, Sai Wan of Hong Kong Island and San Po Kong in Kowloon have been seriously affected, with their occupancy rate dropping by nearly 50 percent.

Besides the change of multiple-entry travel permits for Shenzhen residents to one visit per week and a fallen yuan, "we believe a series of uncivilized campaigns against mainland visitors have contributed to the loss", said Yip Lau-ching, secretary-general of the association.

Yip urged society to stop politicizing everything.

"The worsening tourism industry will affect the livelihoods of the 665,000 employees in related businesses," Yip said.

Willa Wu contributed to this story.

(China Daily 05/12/2016 page5)