Hong Kong reassures visitors amid protests, travel warnings

Protesters use laser pointers during a rally to demonstrate against the arrests of people caught in possession of laser pointers that police classified as offensive weapons because of their ability to harm the eyes in Hong Kong on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Hong Kong is facing its "most severe situation" since its handover from British rule in 1997 following weeks of demonstrations and the central government is considering what measures to take next, the head of Beijing's Cabinet office responsible for the territory said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Protesters use laser pointers during a rally to demonstrate against the arrests of people caught in possession of laser pointers that police classified as offensive weapons because of their ability to harm the eyes in Hong Kong on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Hong Kong is facing its "most severe situation" since its handover from British rule in 1997 following weeks of demonstrations and the central government is considering what measures to take next, the head of Beijing's Cabinet office responsible for the territory said Wednesday. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

HONG KONG — Hong Kong is seeking to reassure visitors to the city after several countries issued travel safety warnings related to ongoing prod-democracy protests.

An email attributed to an unidentified government spokesman conceded recent road blockages and confrontations between police and protesters had caused inconveniences, but said they were confined to limited areas.

It said the government and the travel industry were working to minimize disruptions to visitors.

The government on Thursday said tourist arrivals dropped 26% at the end of last month compared to last year and were continuing to fall in August.

Commerce Secretary Edward Yau Tang-wah said 22 countries and regions, including the U.S., have issued travel warnings for Hong Kong.

More protests are planned for this weekend including at the city's bustling international airport.

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