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Hong Kong on road to recovery after official suggests worst of protests is over

After months of social unrest, MICE industry will welcome news of city’s revival

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Hong Kong has been experiencing a lull in demonstrations and that is a good sign.

HONG KONG - The worst of Hong Kong's months-long pro-democracy protests might now be over, a top adviser to Hong Kong's leader said, as the city experiences a lull in demonstrations after local elections in late November and ahead of the Christmas holiday.

Although occasional, smaller protests are still likely to break out from time to time, large scale confrontations between radical demonstrators and riot police may have tailed off, said Bernard Chan, convener of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam's Executive Council.

"I actually think the worst is probably over," Mr Chan told Bloomberg in an interview on Dec 20. "But I don't think we're going to get rid of all the sporadic types of protests. I don't think it would be over so soon. It may take a little while.

"But I think the larger scale ones, hopefully, we might not see that - but who knows."

Mr Chan's statement will be a fillip to the city's embattled MICE industry.

Hong Kong has seen more than six months of protests that began in opposition to a proposed Bill allowing extradition to mainland China but expanded to include calls for greater democracy in the former British colony.

The unrest has affected the city's travel and tourism industry, with instances of flight disruptions, hotel occupancy at an all-time low, and MICE planners looking for alternative venues elsewhere.

Since September, the tourism industry has been rallying together to turn things around, and  several promotions were introduced to stimulate demand from the MICE industry.

With incidents from the social unrest tapering off, planners can expect more of such promotions and stimulants to come.