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Hong Kong Protests: Most Districts UnaffectedSeptember 29, 2014 By: Meagan Drillinger
Tourists in Hong Kong or headed there may be wondering what the situation is like for travelers in light of the recent protests that have immobilized much of the city. Travel Agent reached out to the Hong Kong Tourism Board for more information.
"As of Monday, September 29, operation in most districts in Hong Kong remains normal," the Tourism Board tells Travel Agent. "Various areas, including Admiralty, Central, Wanchai, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok have been impacted due to the recent events. The Hong Kong Tourism Board advises visitors to avoid going to these affected areas for the time being unless necessary."
The protests for democracy follow an "angry summer in Hong Kong," according to the Daily Telegraph, "with activists accusing the Chiense government of reneging on promises for a free election to choose the region's next mayor, locally known as the chief executive, in 2017."
As a result of the protest, banks and schools remain closed and the bus lines have been disrupted due to massive amounts of people taking to the streets.
Eric Oborski, president of Pacific Delight Tours, tells Travel Agent, "Hong Kong has its own cultural identity which has endured since the 1997 transition from UK to Chinese rule. This is part of what makes Hong Kong a unique destination unlike any other city in China, but it also means that locals are extremely vocal about preserving their way of life. For the most part, these protests have remained peaceful, but there have been a few isolated incidents as local police attempt to keep the demonstrations in check. The international media tends to focus their reporting on these isolated incidents, whereas the majority of protestors have remain peaceful and safe. We are nonetheless watching the situation very closely and have made arrangements to ensure our escorted tours are able to bypass affected areas to avoid disruptions."
On the cruise front, Royal Caribbean International's Voyager of the Seas completed a turnaround (one cruise ending, another departing) at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong on Monday, Sept. 29. Royal Caribbean spokesman Harry Liu said the ship "departed on schedule and was not affected by protests in the city."
In addition, Sapphire Princess was also docked simulataneously at the same terminal, the first dual berthing of two large cruise ships at the new cruise facility, located on the former Hong Kong airport site in Kowloon. We have not yet heard back from Princess Cruises but will provide an update to agents when a response is received.
Stay tuned to Travel Agent Central for updates.