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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Hong Kong To Give Away 500,000 Free Air Tickets To Boost Tourism

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Hong Kong announces a big giveaway of half a million free airline tickets to lure back visitors after expert drastic drop in visitor numbers into the city during the pandemic and post pandemic.

The Chief Executive John Lee launched on Wednesday a tourism campaign, Hello Hong Kong, saying the city will offer 500,000 free air tickets to welcome tourists from around the world.

This would include tickets and vouchers to woo tourists back to the international financial hub.

“Hong Kong is now seamlessly connected to the mainland of China and the whole international world and there will be no isolation, no quarantine,” he said at a ceremony.

“This is the perfect timing for tourists, business travellers and investors from near and far to come and say, ‘Hello, Hong Kong.’”

Under the campaign, most of the plane tickets — worth two billion Hong Kong dollars (£210 million) — will come from three Hong Kong-based airlines through various promotional activities, including lucky draws, buy one, get one free promotions and games.

The project will begin in March and last about six months, said Fred Lam, chief executive officer of the Airport Authority.

“We hope those who secure the air tickets can bring two or three more relatives and friends to the city.

Although we are just giving away 500,000 air tickets, we believe this can help bring Hong Kong over 1.5 million visitors,” Mr Lam said.

The airlines will distribute the tickets in phases, with the Southeast Asian markets set to benefit first, he said.

An additional 80,000 air tickets will be given away to Hong Kong residents in the summer, Mr Lam said.

Hong Kong aligned itself with mainland China’s zero-covid strategy that saw a near complete halt in tourism into the city. Hong Kong received 56 million visitors in 2019 — more than seven times its population — before the pandemic began.

Its strict Covid restrictions have kept visitors away over the past three years, devastating the tourism sector and its economy, with its GDP last year falling by 3.5% from 2021 according to the government’s provisional data.

It recently dropped it’s mandatory hotel quarantine rule, and PCR tests for incoming travellers causing a slight increase in the total arrival figures last year but it was just 1 % of the 2019 arrival figures.

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