In protest clouds, Hong Kong tourists see silver lining

HONG KONG (AP) — The body-blow of months of political protests on Hong Kong’s tourism is verging on catastrophic for one of the world’s great destinations.

Geared up to receive 65 million travellers a year, the city’s hotels, retailers, restaurants and other travel-oriented industries are suffering.

But some intrepid visitors came specifically to see the protests and are revelling in deep discounts and unusually short lines at tourist hotspots. Aside from the risk of stumbling unawares into street battles and clouds of police tear gas — as some tourists have to their coughing, spluttering dismay — Hong Kong remains a pleasant city. Visitors of either gender needn’t think twice about venturing out late at night or while wearing valuables.

Even some Hong Kong residents are enjoying a respite from the usual floods of visitors.

Visitors sit outside a shop on the Main Street at Hong Kong Disneyland in Hong Kong. PHOTO: AP