The coronavirus crisis has paralysed the global financial hub’s economy, which was already reeling from months of anti-government protests, with travel restrictions to curb the spread of infection grinding tourism to a halt. Dane Cheng, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said it would focus on boosting local consumer spending and promoting the city to new markets such as India and Vietnam and to Muslim tourists.
“The best we can hope for would be in June, July,” Cheng said in an interview on Wednesday evening. “By that time, you could see things resume to normal. The border of Hong Kong reopening, air services resuming, that is the time for us to move on and start our recovery plan.” The tourism sector accounts for about 4.5% of Hong Kong’s gross domestic product and employs around 260,000 people. Cheng was speaking hours before the government announced relief measures worth HK$137.5 billion ($17.7 billion) to help businesses and people crippled by the coronavirus outbreak to stay on their feet.
In a bid to stamp out the disease COVID-19 caused by the virus, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has already imposed tough restrictions, including banning all tourist arrivals and prohibiting gatherings of more than four people.