I know it’s hard to separate the effects of SARS on travel with the effects of the war and terrorism, but I’m interested.
I remember there being talk of long term effects with regard to travel and related aspects, but it seems to me everything is “back to normal”. Although, I guess the airlines will still be in recovery mode.
So, what has been the result? What’s the official word?
Hong Kong had a record number of visitors last year, despite having virtually no tourists or business travelers for a couple of months. (Hotels had occupancy rates of 5%.) Our main airlines reported record or at least improved profits for 2003, despite being all but grounded for weeks in Mar-May. So it was an extremely acute blip. A great buying opportunity for those with a cool head (like me - I bought HK airline and retail shares that doubled in price in the following 6 months).
The govt is still asking everyone to fill in a health declaration form at the airport. Otherwise, it’s all over. Til the next time Mainland officials cover up a mutant bug.
I think the effect has been pretty minimal. That is, if you’re on a plane you keep you eye out for someone is obviously sick and coughing. Some passengers get proactive about changing seats if that’s the case and flight crews are accomodating.
Hemlock, I think the Chinese government figured out that SARS is a big deal. Look at the way they dealt with the avian flu. Also, even today, you go see a doctor (mass Chinese go to a hospital and not a private doctor) and you have a fever, there is a seperate registration and examinate area. One gets the quick check for SARS indicators before anything else. Mass transit areas such as planes still have the temperature screening in place (but not using them), and you still have to fill out a SARS form with personal details before you can check onto a flight.
Fair statement about a cover up at the local level, but the situation has changed.
BTW, you are of course aware that the tourists that are helping to keep the HK economy afloat and tourism alive are from the mainland?
Aware?? They’re impossible to ignore. We’re drowning in them. Tourism is actually a tiny bit of our economy, but we’re meant to get excited about this flood of mainlanders - it’s supposed to take our minds off democracy. Or something.
Yeah, the message I’m getting is definitely the bounce back has been very successful. I’m surprised actually, for all the hysteria it caused for a month or so, people have certainly not stopped travelling.
Actually, I think part of the reason Hong Kong is doing so well re. visitors is because all the people who cancelled business trips during the crisis merely rescheduled when it was over!