Hong Kong flight bookings have dropped sharply in recent
weeks as pro-democracy demonstrations have increasingly captured the world's
attention, according to ForwardKeys.
The data only goes through Aug. 9, three days before
protesters forced the closure of Hong Kong's airport Monday and Tuesday. But it
shows that between July 14 and Aug. 9, bookings to Hong Kong from Asian
countries excluding China and Taiwan dropped 33.4% year over year. Long-haul (non-Asia)
bookings to Hong Kong have been less impacted but were down 4.7%.
ForwardKeys developed the data from an analysis of more than
17 million flight booking per day.
The company excluded China and Taiwan from the data because
drops could also be explained by the timing of the Dragon Boat Festival, which
fell 11 days earlier this year than last.
The mass protests began in Hong Kong on June 16. However,
they have only caused a drop in flight bookings since mid-July, ForwardKeys
spokesman David Tarsh said. He added that images of police clearing protesters
from the airport Monday have left ForwardKeys doubtful that a recovery will
come in the immediate future.
The Hong Kong airport was closed again on Tuesday due to
protests. The airport is advising passengers to leave the terminal buildings as
soon as possible.
"Affected passengers please contact their respective
airlines for flight arrangements," an airport announcement said.