Political protests in Hong Kong are likely to hit the island’s tourism industry insiders have warned.
The week-long celebration surrounding China’s National Day, known as Golden Week, would usually be one of the busiest times of year for operators in the destination.
However, this may have been placed in jeopardy this year as thousands of mainly students continue to line the streets.
Protestors are aggrieved at the Chinese government’s decision to screen potential candidates for the position of chief executive of Hong Kong.
This, protestors claim, denies them the full suffrage promised under the legal framework implemented when the United Kingdom returned Hong Kong to China in 1997.
Ricky Tse Kam-ting, chairman of the Hong Kong Inbound Tour Operators Association has warned Hong Kong could see a 50 per cent fall on the expected visitor numbers for this week.
Normally the industry would cater to 350 tour groups daily from mainland China, with upward of 30 people in each group.
Governments in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Australia, have issued travel warnings regarding Hong Kong, advising tourists to avoid public demonstrations and to follow media reports for updates.
At the same time Beijing has suspended the issuing of travel permits for mainland tour groups planning to visit Hong Kong.
Tours already booked will be allowed to proceed.
Chinese visitors account for approximately two thirds of the annual $40bn Hong Kong tourism industry.
More than 40 million Chinese visitors reached Hong Kong in 2013.