WORLD NEWS

Hong Kong offers 500,000 free air tickets to tempt tourists back

Oct 6, 2022, 10:46 AM | Updated: 3:12 pm
HONG KONG, CHINA - OCTOBER 21: A Cathay Pacific passenger jet takes off from Hong Kong Internationa...
HONG KONG, CHINA - OCTOBER 21: A Cathay Pacific passenger jet takes off from Hong Kong International Airport on October 21, 2020 in Hong Kong, China. Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific Airways has announced it will cut 8,500 jobs and shut down its regional airline unit, Cathay Dragon, in a corporate restructuring, as it grapples with the plunge in air travel due to the pandemic. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
(Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Hong Kong attracted around 56 million visitors a year before the pandemic, and 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.

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

The move, first announced two years ago, was confirmed to CNN by a spokesperson from the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), which said that the 500,000 tickets, worth around $254.8 million, would go to global visitors, along with residents.

“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,” says the spokesperson.

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

‘Recovery campaign’

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

Hong Kong has 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 droves of residents to log on to airline websites to book flights.

Cathay Pacific, the city’s flag carrier, set up a virtual “waiting room” to access its website at one point, while online travel booking service Expedia saw a nine-fold surge in search for flights from Hong Kong to Tokyo and 11-fold for flights from Hong Kong to Osaka — although interest in flights to Hong Kong remained unchanged, according to Lavinia Rajaram, Expedia’s Asia head of public relations.

“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.

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


The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2022 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Defence Ministry Press Office on Thursday, July 7, 2022, Uk...
JAMEY KEATEN and NOMAAN MERCHANT, Associated Press

US intel chief thinking ‘optimistically’ for Ukraine forces

The head of U.S. intelligence says Russia’s war against Ukraine is running at a “reduced tempo” and suggests Ukrainian forces may have the upper hand in coming months.
1 day ago
General view during the 2022 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Cen...
CNN

Christmas vacations: 15 of the best places to go for holiday spirit

From Finland to Mexico, these 15 destinations around the world traditionally offer up some of the best holiday atmosphere for a Christmas-themed vacation.
1 day ago
NAAMA tatoo removal studio is seen in London....
Zoe Sottile, CNN

This tattoo removal studio will laser off your Kanye West tattoo for free

A London tattoo studio removal studio is offering free removal of Kanye West tattoos as the artist continues to openly promote antisemitism and praise Adolf Hitler.
1 day ago
An artist's life reconstruction of the bird-like Cretaceous Period dinosaur Natovenator polydontus,...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

A new species of dinosaur might have dived like a duck to catch its prey

A new study found evidence at least one species of dinosaur may have been an adept swimmer, diving into the water like a duck to hunt its prey.
1 day ago
KIEV, UKRAINE - APRIL 26: People attend a commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nu...
DAVID McHUGH, AP Business Writer

EXPLAINER: Can Ukraine pay for war without wrecking economy?

Ukraine has won victories on the battlefield against Russia but faces a looming challenge on the economic front.
2 days ago
Camels resting at a spot for tourists to go on rides in the desert on seen ahead of the FIFA World ...
NNE M. PETERSON AP Sports Writer

Camel pageant is among World Cup’s sidelines attractions

The camel batted her eyelashes and flashed a toothy smile for the television cameras at the Mzayen World Cup. The camel pageant was being held in the Qatari desert about 15 miles (25 kilometers) away from Doha and soccer's World Cup. The pageant is a cross between the Westminster Dog Show and the Miss America Pageant. The winner was Nazaa'a is a majestic light-haired creature that overcame several preliminary rounds and hundreds of other camels to win the pageant at Qatar Camel Mzayen Club on Friday.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 reasons you may want to consider apartment life over owning a home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Take this quiz before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t let a ransomware attack get you down | Protect your workplace today with cyber insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Hong Kong offers 500,000 free air tickets to tempt tourists back