Avoid Hong Kong During Protests?Update (14 August 2019) | The Hong Kong protests caused severe disruptions to flights out of Hong Kong International Airport on the evenings of 12 and 13 August 2019, leading to many cancelled flights. Hong Kong’s airport has now won an injunction to prevent protesters from blocking the airport, and airport operations have more or less returned to normal. However, the situation continues to evolve and the protests in Hong Kong are continuing. You should monitor the situation closely if you have upcoming travel to Hong Kong.

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Original article (11 August 2019) | Last Tuesday, the Australian government issued a new travel warning for Hong Kong, raising its advice level to “exercise a high degree of caution”. This is a result of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong that have been happening for the past 10 weeks and have been widely reported in the media.

As the protests continue, there are some concerns that the demonstrations could turn violent. Travellers in Hong Kong could also be affected if protestors continue to occupy the airport or disrupt public transport. So, is it safe to travel to Hong Kong in the current climate?


Here is the current advice from the Australian government’s Smart Traveller website:

We have raised our advice level for Hong Kong: we now recommend you ‘exercise a high degree of caution’. Protests have become more unpredictable and are expected to continue. Tourist areas have been affected. There is a risk of violent confrontation between protestors and police, or criminally-linked individuals, particularly at unauthorised protests. The risk is greater at night and on weekends. We strongly recommend you avoid large public gatherings. Monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.

Given the uncertainty of the situation, some AFF members say they would prefer not to travel to Hong Kong while the protests continue. But of the AFF members that are currently on the ground in Hong Kong, all of them say they have barely noticed anything out of the ordinary. Those in Hong Kong say they feel safe and are not particularly concerned at this point.

Here is what k_sheep, Pleb Status and albatross710 posted on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum:

In HKG right now. Other than a couple cancelled flights (which isn’t probably much more than expected) there is nothing of note going on.

I am in HKG at the moment and today is no different to any other day I have experienced here over the years.

I flew in yesterday and the only noticeable differences were very slow baggage reclaim on CX (which may be normal as I normally fly in on SQ) and most retail shops were closed. Food stores (Wellcome etc) were open, along with most restaurants etc.

The local media highlighted where the ‘trouble spots’ were so they were very easy to avoid. Use common sense and you will be fine…

I was in HK last week and staying at TST. I had business in TST, MongKok and HK Island.

In my personal experience I was not impacted at all getting around, catching ferry, taxis and MTR. Restaurants were serving their high standard of food.

Pretty clear that if there is a large gathering stay clear, but I didn’t see any large gatherings. Actually the only place I did see things was on the front page of the newspapers.

I would be happy to be in HK again and in my personal experience I would not change your plans. HK is a big place.

For now, it seems that Hong Kong is still relatively safe for tourists. If you have an upcoming visit, it would be sensible to monitor the situation and register your travel plans with Smart Traveller. Once there, just exercise sensible safety precautions and allow some extra travel time. You may also wish to check what is and isn’t covered by your travel insurance.

As the Hong Kong protests continue, Cathay Pacific crew members involved in the protests have now been banned from flying in Chinese airspace.

Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Should I stay or should I go – Hong Kong

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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at editor@australianfrequentflyer.com.au