Hong Kong to give away 500,000 airline tickets to revive tourism

6:05 pm on 7 October 2022, Friday

By: Dennis Cortes

Hong Kong will give away 500,000 airline tickets worth HK$2 billion (US$254 million) as part of an effort early next year to entice travelers to visit the city.

"We hope to give the maximum room to reconnect Hong Kong, and to revitalize our economy," Hong Kong's Chief Executive John Lee said in a press conference on Friday.

Hong Kong attracted around 56 million visitors a year before the pandemic. Now, the popular destination is taking significant steps to win tourists back after over two years of some of the world's toughest travel restrictions.

After dropping its longstanding mandatory hotel quarantine requirement, Hong Kong has confirmed plans to give away half a million airline tickets to boost tourism.

Earlier, Hong Kong had been largely cut off from the rest of the world due to its Covid-19 quarantine rules, which at one stage required incoming travelers to spend 21 days in a hotel room at their own expense, with only Hong Kong residents permitted entry.

The quarantine period had been reduced from seven to three days when it was officially scrapped on September 26, prompting residents to log on to airline websites to book flights.

But while the hotel quarantine may have been lifted, visitors to Hong Kong still face various rules and restrictions before and after arriving.

Incoming international travelers must submit a pre-flight vaccination certificate, as well as a negative PCR test and rapid antigen test, before entering.

Once they've been permitted to enter, visitors are required to undergo a three-day self-monitoring period, during which time they're prohibited from eating in restaurants or visiting bars.

Visitors must also complete PCR tests on days 2, 4 and 6 after arrival, and a rapid antigen test every day for seven days.

Back in 2020, Airport Authority Hong Kong purchased around 500,000 air tickets in advance from the territory's home-based airlines as part of a relief package to support the aviation industry.

The purchase serves the purpose of injecting liquidity into the airline's upfront, while the tickets will be given away to global visitors and Hong Kong residents in the market recovery campaign.  

Further details will be announced once the relevant arrangements have been made with airlines.



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