Hong Kong to add around 2,000 quarantine hotel rooms ahead of Christmas holidays


Hong Kong to add around 2,000 quarantine hotel rooms ahead of Christmas holidays

People pose in front of a giant moon-shaped balloon ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong on September 20, 2021. (Photo Reuters)

HONG KONG: Authorities plan to increase the number of designated quarantined hotel rooms in the city by 20% ahead of what is expected to be a busy Christmas holiday period, a key industry player said.

Michael Li Hon-shing, executive director of the Hong Kong Hotel Owners Federation, said the government was already in contact with industry representatives and estimated the number of rooms would increase from 10,000 to 12,000 to from December 1st.

The 36 hotels currently approved to serve as coronavirus quarantine facilities – a list that is updated every three months – were booked at 84% of capacity from September through November, according to the Food and Health Bureau.

“We expect more residents to return [to Hong Kong] during and after the Christmas holidays, and the government can estimate the number by checking flight reservations with airlines, ”Li told a radio show on Tuesday.

He noted that while the government has generally chosen mid-range and budget hotels priced between HK $ 600 (2,500 baht) and HK $ 800 per night, adding five-star accommodation to the mix could help meet the demand of some returning travelers for a higher standard. service and more comfortable rooms.

“I think the demand is not that huge, but it has to have its own market,” he said. “I think the market for rooms priced around HK $ 1,000 is bigger.”

He said hotels considering joining the program had to weigh their own strategies, including whether they preferred to focus on longer-term renters or the burgeoning “stay” market.

“They may be concerned that future customers are worried about having been a quarantine hotel before… But they may also hope to increase the occupancy rate by becoming a quarantine facility. It depends on the hotels business strategy,” he said. he declared.

Hong Kong has imposed one of the world’s toughest policies on inbound travelers, forcing those in countries considered high-risk – a list that includes Britain, the United States, and Thailand – to carry up to three weeks of compulsory quarantine in hotels.

The limited supply of government-approved hotels had caused thousands of travelers in the city to scramble to book rooms and rearrange flights and rooms in recent months.

Meanwhile, foreign domestic helpers, who mostly come from the Philippines or Indonesia, have only two quarantine options – the 409-room Silka Hotel Tsuen Wan or the government-run Penny’s Bay quarantine facility. , which has 1,000 locations.

Each room at both properties was occupied within minutes of its availability, as employers and employment agencies rushed to book slots for their workers.

According to government figures, the city had a total of 315 licensed hotels providing 87,318 rooms as of August.

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