HONG KONG, Nov. 27 (Xinhua) -- The number of visitor arrivals to Hong Kong has witnessed the sharpest decline in 16 years for the third quarter of 2019 over continued unrest in the region, official data showed Wednesday.
Only 11.9 million visitor arrivals have been recorded in Hong Kong during the July-September period, down 26 percent year on year, reversing a growing trend in the first half, according to the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The number of tourist arrivals dropped further by around 40 percent year on year in October and fell 50 percent in the first half of November, said the bureau.
Following the decline, the average occupancy rate of hotel rooms has also fallen distinctly to 72 percent in the third quarter from 91 percent in the same period last year, it said.
Consequently, the unemployment rate of the consumption- and tourism-related sectors such as retail, accommodation and food services increased from 3.9 percent in the second quarter to 5 percent in August to October, the highest level since early 2017.
Compared with the second quarter, the number of employees in these sectors decreased by around 47,000.
As a pillar industry for Hong Kong, tourism employed more than 250,000 people and contributed 4.5 percent of GDP to Hong Kong's economy in 2017.
Hong Kong's GDP contracted 2.9 percent year on year in the third quarter, sharply down from a 0.4-percent growth in the second quarter. Following the downward trajectory, the unemployment rate in August-October increased to 3.1 percent, official data showed.