Hong Kong to give away 5 lakh free air tickets to tourists to boost tourism

 Saturday, February 4, 2023 


In a bid to woo tourists back to the international financial hub, Hong Kong has planned to give five lakh air tickets and vouchers. The announcement was made on Thursday during the launch of a promotion campaign by Hong Kong leader John Lee.

Airlines Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Express and Hong Kong Airlines will receive free flight tickets to be distributed to overseas visitors for six months. The giveaway will open in March, with another 80,000 tickets up for grabs for residents in the summer.

“This, ladies and gentlemen, is probably the world’s biggest welcome ever,” Lee said.

The government’s rebranding campaign, “Hello, Hong Kong”, bills itself as an effort to tell “good stories” about the southern Chinese city, where years of political repression, coupled with pandemic curbs, have tarnished its business-friendly reputation.

The campaign was launched with dancers and neon lights were flased in the city’s main convention Centre beside its famous harbour, with a backdrop carrying the slogan in various languages, including Russian and Spanish.

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

The entire campaign will include over 200 events to underscore the city’s return.

In 2022, Hong Kong welcomed almost 605,000 visitors which was higher from 91,000 in 2021, Bloomberg reported. But before the pandemic hit, the city was visited by almost 56 million people as Hong Kong was Asia’s busiest international airport then.

More than 130 international companies have shuttered their Hong Kong offices over the past three years, while a recent survey of 253 Japanese companies showed securing quality workers was their top concern.
According to official figures, more than 1,40,000 people left Hong Kong’s labour force last year, when the economy contracted by 3.5 per cent.

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