Hong Kong has followed mainland China is closing its museums indefinitely as part of efforts to contain the Wuhan Coronavirus pandemic which started in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December 2019.
Institutions including the Guangdong Art Museum, National Art Museum of China, Beijing’s Palace Museum and National Museum of China closed last week.
A notice on the Hong Kong Leisure and Cultural Services website said Cultural facilities include all museums, performance venues, public libraries and their study rooms, mobile libraries, and music centres would close on January 29th.
This follows the announcement that travel links between mainland China and Hong Kong would be reduced. Six of the eight cases of Wuhan Coronavirus in Hong Kong were found to have travelled from China via a high-speed rail link.
Wuhan Coronavirus effects Chinese tourist numbers
With Chinese tourists an important group to the travel industry, the virus is also affecting the number of people visiting other countries.
On Sunday, China announced a ban on outbound group travel as part of its battle to stop the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus. That lead to one Japanese tour company losing 20,000 bookings.
Approximately 9.6 million Chinese tourists visited Japan in 2019, accounting for a third of the countries visitors, so the effect on the travel industry in the country could be substantial.
Above: Louvre attracted 800,000 Chinese visitors in 2018
The impact will be felt less immediately in Europe, which does not attract as many visitors from China during the winter, but if the outbreak continues museums and historic sites which are popular with Chinese Tourists will feel the difference.
“We are in low season for now, but if the situation persists… the economic impact will be significant,” said Jean-Pierre Mas, head of a French travel lobby group.
Nearly 6,000 people have been diagnosed with the disease since December, with 132 killed by the virus.
About the author – Manuel Charr
Manuel Charr is a journalist working in the arts and cultural sectors. With a background in marketing, Manuel is drawn to arts organizations which are prepared to try inventive ways to reach new audiences.