The standoff between the authorities and protesters in Hong Kong since June 2019 has escalated to the airport shutdown last weekend from August 9-12, 2019. Flights were cancelled with chaotic effects spreading out across the island. Although the airport reopened on August 13, 2019, uncertainty still persists because the political demonstrations are expected to continue. The gridlock does not only impact the business confidence in Hong Kong's economy but also causes disruption at one of the world's busiest airports, affecting outbound Hong Kong holidaymakers that includes those planning on coming to Thailand.
Moreover, August is the peak season when Hong Kong tourists like to visit Thailand because it is the month of the annual school break. Normally, around 4,200-5,000 Hong Kong tourists would come to Thailand per day on average this month. Based on the scenario that the demonstration resulted in the shutdown of the Hong Kong airport for seven days, KResearch initially projects that the seven-day shutdown may affect around 30,000 Hong Kong holidaymakers, translating into losses of tourist receipts to the tune of THB1.4 billion. Such a figure is an initial estimation which does not take into account the impacts from inbound tourists from other countries who had planned to use Hong Kong as a transit point to Thailand. This is because this group of travelers may reroute their flights to avoid stopping at Hong Kong airport. Alternatively, they may reschedule their travel plans to a later date.
Therefore, in addition to close monitoring of the situation in Hong Kong, every party involved, especially the Thai government, must be ready to provide recommendations and guidelines for holidaymakers who plan to come to Thailand so that tourists may avoid transiting through Hong Kong to facilitate the travel plans of travelers.