As the protests in Hong Kong continue, many events in the city have been cancelled.
Among them is the 2019 Hong Kong Tennis Open, which the organisers postponed on Friday. “After extensive discussions with our key stakeholders, we conclude that a smooth running of the tournament can be better assured at a later time,” the Hong Kong Tennis Association said in a statement.
On Thursday, the government said there may be no firework show for the October 1 National Day celebrations. The fireworks have been cancelled twice in the past: in 2013 because of the Lamma Island boat accident, and again in 2014 because of the Occupy Protests.
Entertainers have also cancelled shows in Hong Kong. Top K-pop acts like Daniel Kang and GOT7 have decided to give the 852 a miss. The producers of the award-winning musical Matilda announced they were scrapping the show, which was due to kick off this week. It had been booked to run for a month at the Lyric Theatre, not far from the Hong Kong Police Headquarters which has been a target during the protests.
“Sadly, the 14 weeks of civil unrest in Hong Kong have decimated ticket sales, and more importantly we cannot guarantee the safety and well-being of our international company, which comprises a large number of young children,” said James Cundall, the CEO of Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, which was bringing the show to Hong Kong.
The cancellations will hurt the already suffering tourist industry. As mainland tourists stay away, the hotel occupancy rate is down and tourist arrivals have fallen by 40 per cent. This has a knock-on effect for restaurants and shops.
Also last week, Hong Kong’s airline Cathay Pacific said it had seen a big loss in passengers, and would be slashing its number of weekly flights.
The protests were sparked by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s attempt to introduce a bill that would allow people who are suspected of committing crimes on the mainland to be sent there for trial. Lam has since promised to officially withdraw the bill.