Ovolo founder says Hong Kong’s beleaguered hospitality sector needs help

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 the hardest hit.

Ovolo Group has become one of Hong Kong’s largest independent owner/operator hospitality companies, employing over 190 people in Hong Kong across head office, four hotels and five F&B venues.

In reaction to the current situation in Hong Kong, Girish said tourism has always been a vital pillar of the Hong Kong economy, with the city acting as a hub for business and leisure travellers 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,” he said.

Tourist arrivals year on year have fallen by 5 per cent in July and an alarming 40 per cent in August – the largest decline since the SARS outbreak in 2003.

Group arrivals from the mainland have also dropped by 90 per cent in the first 10 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 organisations,” said Jhunjhnuwala.

“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.”