HK to add estimated 2,000 quarantine hotel rooms ahead of Christmas holidays, key industry figure says

20-Oct-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong authorities plan to ramp up the number of designated quarantine hotel rooms in the city by 20 per cent ahead of what is expected to be a busy Christmas holiday season, a key industry player has said.

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

Plans for that expansion emerged as the city confirmed two new coronavirus cases carrying the L452R mutant strain on Tuesday both imported taking the overall tally of infections to 12,301, with 213 related deaths.

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The two cases involved a 51-year-old man from the United Kingdom and a 3-year-old from Mongolia. Fewer than 10 preliminary-positive infections were recorded.

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

“We expect more residents will come back [to Hong Kong] during and after the Christmas holiday, and the government can estimate the number by checking flight bookings with the airlines,” Li told a radio programme on Tuesday.

He noted that while the government had typically chosen mid-range and budget hotels priced between HK$600 (US$77) and HK$800 per night, adding some five-star accommodation to the mix could help meet demand among returning travellers for a higher level of service and more comfortable rooms.

“I think the demand for that is not that huge, but it must have its own market,” he said. “I believe the market for rooms priced at about HK$1,000 is larger.”

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

“They may worry that future customers could be concerned that they had been a quarantine hotel before… But they may also hope to boost the occupancy rate by becoming a quarantine facility. It’s up to the hotels’ business strategy,” he said.

Hong Kong has imposed one of the world’s strictest policies for inbound travellers, requiring those from countries deemed high-risk a list that includes Britain, the United States and Thailand to complete up to three weeks of compulsory hotel quarantine.

The limited supply of government-approved hotels had left thousands of travellers to the city scrambling to book rooms and rearrange flights and rooms in recent months.

Meanwhile, foreign domestic helpers, who mainly come to the city from the Philippines or Indonesia, have just two quarantine options the 409-room Silka Hotel Tsuen Wan or the government-run Penny’s Bay quarantine facility, which has 1,000 slots.

Every room at both properties was snapped up within minutes of becoming available, as employers and employment agencies rushed to reserve slots for their workers.

According to government figures, the city had a total of 315 licensed hotel properties supplying 87,318 rooms as of August.


Category: Hong Kong

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