Hong Kong is handing out airline tickets and vouchers to lure tourists back to the international financial center to compete with other popular travel destinations in fierce regional competition.
During the pandemic, the city largely adapted to mainland China’s zero-covid strategy and relaxed its entry rules months more slowly than rivals such as Singapore, Japan and Taiwan. Even after the opening of the border with mainland China in January, tourism has slowly recovered.
CEO John Lee launched a “Hello Hong Kong” tourism campaign on Thursday, saying the city will offer 500,000 free flight tickets to welcome travelers from around the world in “probably the world’s biggest welcome”.
“Hong Kong is now perfectly connected to the Chinese mainland and the entire international world, and there is no isolation or quarantine,” he said at the ceremony. “This is the perfect time for tourists, business travelers and investors from near and far to say ‘Hello, Hong Kong’.”
According to the campaign, most of the plane tickets – worth 255 million dollars – come from the three Hong Kongs. across airlines through various promotions including sweepstakes, buy one get one free promotions and games. The project will begin in March and take about six months, said Fred Lam, CEO of the airport authority.
“We hope the Airline Ticket Sponsors can bring two or three more relatives and friends to the city. Although we have just given away 500,000 airline tickets, we believe it can help bring more than 1.5 million visitors to Hong Kong, Lam said. He said
Airlines will distribute the tickets in phases, and the first phase will benefit Southeast Asian markets. Lam said an additional 80,000 flight tickets will be distributed to Hong Kong residents over the summer.
People living in the Suurlahe area also benefit from the policy, which offers a total of more than 700,000 tickets. The Greater Bay Area is a Chinese government initiative to connect Hong Kong with neighboring mainland cities, including the technology and financial center of Shenzhen and the factories of Dongguan and Foshan
Visitors can also enjoy special offers and coupons, among others. urban incentives. , Lee said.
Hong Kong had 56 million visitors in 2019 before the pandemic began – more than seven times its population. But its strict COVID-19 restrictions have kept visitors away for the past three years, devastating the tourism industry and its economy. Last year, the city’s GDP fell by 3.5% compared to 2021, according to preliminary government data.
In recent months, it finally abandoned mandatory hotel quarantine rules and PCR testing of arriving passengers, resulting in a slight increase in arrivals. However, its 2022 visitation numbers were only 1% of 2019 levels.