Hotel rooms

Hong Kong to add around 2,000 quarantined hotel rooms ahead of Christmas vacation

Hong Kong to add around 2,000 quarantined hotel rooms ahead of Christmas vacation

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 hotel rooms designated for quarantine in the city by 20% 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 contact with industry representatives and estimated that the number of rooms would increase from 10,000 to 12,000 at from December 1.

The 36 hotels currently approved to serve as coronavirus quarantine facilities – a list updated every three months – were booked at 84% capacity from September to 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 said on 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 some returning travelers’ request for an upgrade. service and more comfortable rooms.

“I think the demand is not that huge, but there must be its own market,” he said. “I think the market for rooms priced around HK$1,000 is more important.”

He said hotels considering joining the program need to weigh their own strategies, including whether they prefer to focus on longer-term tenants or the booming “staycation” market.

“They may be worried that future guests will be worried that they have been a quarantine hotel before… But they may also hope to increase occupancy by becoming a quarantine facility. It depends on the hotels business strategy,” he said. -he declares.

Hong Kong has imposed one of the world’s strictest policies for inbound travelers, requiring those from countries deemed high risk – a list that includes Britain, the United States and Thailand – to carry up to three weeks of mandatory quarantine in hotels.

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

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

Every room at both properties was occupied within minutes of becoming available, as employers and placement agencies rushed to book slots for their workers.

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