Cathay Pacific Blames Hong Kong Protests for Ticket Sales Dip

Angus Whitley
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Cathay Pacific Blames Hong Kong Protests for Ticket Sales Dip

(Bloomberg) -- The economic fallout from the political protests in Hong Kong is broadening, with Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. being the latest to say its business is taking a hit.

Ticket sales dipped as fewer people took Cathay flights into Hong Kong in July, and the demonstrations are hurting future bookings as well, the flag carrier of Asia’s financial hub said on Wednesday.

The toll on commerce is rising as the unrest turns increasingly violent. What started as a protest two months ago over a contentious law has morphed into a movement against China’s grip on the city. That’s dealing a blow to a growing list of businesses, from local retailers and hotels to foreign watchmakers and even Walt Disney Co.

The damage to Cathay’s forward bookings suggests the protests are now choking off the flow of visitors to a city that depends on them to spend big on luxury goods, entertainment and hotels.

Walt Disney, reporting results on Aug. 6 for the quarter ended June, said visits to Hong Kong Disneyland have suffered.

“We will feel it in the quarter that we’re currently in, and we’ll see how long the protests go on,” Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger said on a call.

It’s not just the threat from clashes between police and protesters that’s hurting business. A general strike on Aug. 5 led to traffic chaos, violence, tear gas and flight cancellations in the most disruptive day since the protests started.

About a day later, rumors about triad gang violence at North Point on Hong Kong Island forced shops nearby, including Starbucks, to shut early. Even the most popular shopping areas such as Causeway Bay were quieter than usual.

InterContinental Hotels Group Plc said this week that first-half revenue fell marginally in Hong Kong amid the unrest. Macau’s casino operators reported an unexpected drop in revenue in July. The world’s biggest gaming hub, Macau, is a popular day trip from Hong Kong.

Richemont, the owner of Cartier, last month reported a surprise drop in revenue from its watch business. Richemont echoed Swatch Group AG in saying that protests in Hong Kong weighed on sales.

China has urged Hong Kong residents to stand up to protesters challenging the government.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angus Whitley in Sydney at awhitley1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Young-Sam Cho at ycho2@bloomberg.net, Sam Nagarajan, Ville Heiskanen

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