Hong Kong protests create widespread delays in travel

Posted on Oct 03, 2014

Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong that started on Sept. 27 are proving to be more than a passing concern - the major demonstrations are approaching a week in length and attracting thousands upon thousands of students and professionals. Many of the region's major thoroughfares have been blocked off from traffic in what has been a largely non-violent action by the group. The region's government had decided to wait out the protests and hope they dissipate on their own, but this approach may change as more people flock to the roads and bridges in downtown areas to advocate for their cause.

Protests in Hong Kong are affecting travel in the area despite being mostly peaceful

Self-policing protesters
News site Mashable pointed out that, despite clogging major traffic arteries, the vast majority of protesters have been responsible for the areas they occupy. There has been little if any graffiti painted on the buildings and infrastructure in the protest zones, with members of what's called the "Occupy Central" or "Umbrella Revolution" movement going so far as to post signs discouraging the practice. The inevitable accumulation of garbage from tens of thousands of people protesting in a dense urban area has been handled by the protesters as well, who have been sweeping and bagging rubbish before disposing of it. The orderly nature of the protests is notable because it's rarely the outcome of civil disobedience actions and because of Hong Kong's reputation as a fastidious and ultra-clean city.

The significant impact on travel

Despite the clean and orderly nature of the protests, they're still impacting business and pleasure travel in the area. Governments including the U.S. have issued travel warnings for the region, according to The Wall Street Journal. Corporate travel isn't being impacted from a safety standpoint as of yet, but there are other issues. Logistical problems related to traveling through protest zones - not involving the possibility of harm as much as physically moving across roadways blocked by thousands of people - are evident. If the protests continue to grow in strength, it could result in a variety of negative outcomes from a business travel standpoint.

Companies have a duty of care obligation for employees traveling from the home office on business. With a situation as unique as Hong Kong's, travel is still possible but the situation could quickly change. NC4 Risk Center provides timely, granular data about safety and travel concerns in areas employees visit, keeping everyone involved aware of risk.

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