The survival of hotels during disaster: A case study of Hong Kong in 2003

Sau Yee Ada Lo, Yuk Yim Cheung, Chun Hung Roberts Law

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


The mysterious Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome made Hong Kong a key travel destination in Asia, world famous in 2003 but for the worst reasons. As a major sector of the local tourism industry, hotels in Hong Kong went through an unprecedented and traumatic time during the SARS infection period. While a few published articles in hospitality and tourism research journals have initially discussed the impact of SARS on hotels, these articles were predominantly the collection and compilation of secondary reported news. In other words, the existing hospitality and tourism literature has no published research that investigates the influence of SARS on specific hotels in Hong Kong and the responses of hotels to the crisis. This paper offers an overview of the emergence of SARS in Hong Kong and, more importantly, reports on the practices employed by hotels to survive during this harsh period. Through in-depth interviews with senior executives in six hotels in Hong Kong, empirical results showed that hotels were adopting various strategies during different stages of the crisis in order to survive. Industry-wide recovery effort and mutual support are also essential recovery strategies. This paper presents feasible management strategies and operational procedures for hoteliers to refer to in the eventuality of a future or potential crises.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-80
Number of pages16
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2006


  • Hong Kong
  • Hotels
  • SARS
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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