Hong Kong tries to attract tourists with free air tickets, vouchers

Published: Updated:
Enable Read mode
100% Font Size

Hong Kong will give away air tickets and vouchers to woo tourists back to the international financial hub, racing to catch up with other popular travel destinations in a fierce regional competition.

During the pandemic, the city largely aligned itself with mainland China’s “zero-COVID” strategy and has relaxed its entry rules months slower than rivals such as Singapore, Japan, and Taiwan.

For all the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.

Even after it reopened its border with mainland China in January, tourism recovery was sluggish.

For more coronavirus news, visit our dedicated page.

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

“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 travelers, and investors from near and far to come and say, ‘Hello, Hong Kong.’”

Visitors can also enjoy special offers and vouchers among other incentives in the city, he said.

Hong Kong received 56 million visitors in 2019 — over seven times its population — before the pandemic began. But its strict COVID-19 restrictions have been keeping visitors away over the past three years, devastating the tourism sector and its economy. The city’s GDP last year fell 3.5 percent from 2021, according to the government’s provisional data.

In the past few months, it finally dropped its mandatory hotel quarantine rule and PCR tests for incoming travelers, resulting in a slight increase in arrival figures. Still, its 2022 visitor numbers were just 1 percent of the 2019 level.

Read more:

China city converts COVID-19 quarantine camp into homes for ‘skilled talents’

US President Biden to end twin COVID-19 national emergencies on May 11

China resumes issuing visas for Japanese travelers after three-week suspension

Top Content Trending