Ovolo Group's founder and CEO, Girish Jhunjhnuwala, has called on the Hong Kong Government for assistance for the local hospitality industry given the current economic downturn in the region. The situation in Hong Kong has been felt across all corners of the city, including the retail, aviation and financial sectors, with the tourism industry being hit the hardest.
In reaction to the current situation in Hong Kong, Jhunjhnuwala said tourism has always been a vital pillar of the Hong Kong economy, with the city acting as a hub for business and leisure travelers from across the world.
"It's devastating to see the effect that the recent situation in our city has had on local businesses, particularly those of us in the hospitality industry,” Jhunjhnuwala says. “As reported by the [South China Morning Post], tourist arrivals year-over-year have fallen by 5 percent in July and an alarming 40 percent in August—the largest decline since the SARS outbreak in 2003. Group arrivals from the mainland have also dropped by 90 percent in the first ten days of September.
"When our businesses weather tough times, those whom are hit the hardest are not the top-level executives but our team members—the employees working at the forefront of our organizations. It's those members of our society that are, unfortunately, the ones which are now facing reduced hours, reduced wages or in some cases even redundancies.
"With this in mind, it is imperative the Hong Kong Government and Hong Kong Monetary Authority both step in to lend a helping hand to local businesses who are struggling during these times—not only to ensure we reduce negative economic impact and avoid loss of wages or jobs, but to ultimately protect Hong Kong's status as a thriving tourism hub for years to come."
Ovolo Group employs more than 190 people in Hong Kong across its head office, four hotels and five F&B venues, serving an estimated 100,000 business and leisure guests and approximately 165,000 diners and drinkers annually.