Coronavirus could be knockout blow for Hong Kong’s once-thriving tourism, retail sectors

Reuters

Tom Bennell’s olive oil distribution business took a heavy beating during months of pro-democracy protests that emptied Hong Kong hotels and restaurants, his major customers. Now he fears a knockout blow as the city fights the coronavirus. The two-decade-old Olives and Oils supplies more than 20 five-star hotels, as well as clubs, delis and restaurants in Chinese-ruled Hong Kong, where retail and tourism act like balance wheels for an economy running on trade and finance. The coronavirus, which has killed more than 1,700 people across the border in mainland China and one of 60 patients in Hong Kong, has reduced tourist arrivals to a trickle and kept residents away from shops at a time when the city is mired in its first recession in a decade.

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