Hong Kong merchants experience a 20% increase in business during Mid-Autumn and National Day holidays, industry indicates recovery still below pre-pandemic levels

Rayman Chui Man-wai

3rd October 2023 – (Hong Kong) The efforts to promote the nighttime economy and organise various events during the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays have brought some vibrancy to the streets of Hong Kong. However, the overall atmosphere fell short of expectations. Rayman Chui Man-wai, the chairman of the Institute of Dining Professionals, expressed this sentiment during a radio program today. He noted that this year’s festivities failed to reach the same level of excitement as before the pandemic. Nevertheless, the industry’s introduction of dining promotions led to a general increase of around 20% in business, and fireworks displays helped drive foot traffic to restaurants. In comparison to pre-pandemic levels, overall business revenue has recovered to approximately 85% to 90%, while tourism-related businesses have seen a recovery of about 60% to 70%. Chui also highlighted the industry’s struggle with manpower shortages and the pressure of extending operating hours to support the promotion of the nighttime economy.

Peter Shiu Ka-fai, a member of the Legislative Council, echoed similar sentiments during a radio program today. He stated that merchants selling traditional products such as jewellery experienced double-digit percentage growth in revenue during the Mid-Autumn and National Day holidays. Hong Kong remains an attractive shopping destination for tourists due to its duty-free status and assurance of genuine products.

However, Shiu mentioned that the number of mainland Chinese visitors during the National Day holiday period has not yet fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels. He attributed this to a shortage of personnel in the aviation industry, resulting in incomplete capacity recovery. Additionally, the processing time required for the importation of foreign labour has further delayed their arrival, with estimates suggesting that the number of inbound visitors may not fully recover until the end of this year.

Despite the positive growth in business during the recent holidays, it is evident that Hong Kong’s recovery has yet to reach the levels seen before the onset of the pandemic. The challenges posed by labour shortages and limitations in the aviation industry continue to hinder a complete rebound. The industry will closely monitor these developments as they strive to revitalize the economy and restore Hong Kong’s status as a bustling tourist destination.