Hong Kong wants visitors to return and is planning a giveaway of 500,000 free airline tickets this spring in an effort to jumpstart tourism.
Hong Kong Will Distribute 500,000 Free Airline Tickets
In 2019, 56 million people visited Hong Kong. In 2021, that number was only 91,000. In 2022, that number was 650,000. Now Hong Kong wants the world to know that its doors are open.
John Lee, the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong, announced a new campaign on Thursday that he hopes will draw visitors back to the special administrative region of China after years of harsh COVID-19 restrictions. In a speech delivered in three languages (English, Mandarin, and Cantonese), Lee hinted that Hong Kong was preparing “probably the world’s biggest welcome ever.”
Government crackdowns, protests, and extended lockdown have led to a contraction of Hong Kong’s economy for three of the last four years. Now, Hong Kong has fully reopened, jettisoned onerous quarantine requirements, and claims its is ready to welcome visitors from around the world.
To attract these visitors, up to 500,000 tickets will be given away on Cathay Pacific, HK Express, and Hong Kong Airlines. The Airport Authority purchased these tickets as part of a bailout package for the airline industry in 2020. Now it plans to give them away in four different ways, according to Fred Lam, who leads the airport authority. Those include:
- lottery system
- first-come, first-serve
- two-for-one purchases
Per the fine print, tickets will be in economy class and passengers would be responsible for applicable taxes, fees, and surcharges.
The promotion will be rolled out in phases:
The giveaway will start in Southeast Asia markets on 1 March 2023, followed by the Mainland, Northeast Asia and other markets, continuing for about six months. The airlines’ marketing and promotion will begin in late February.
Citizens will also receive tickets to fly, with Lam promising 80,000 tickets for residents and another 80,000 tickets for residents of the Greater Bay Area.
Finally, Hong Kong will be inviting “influencers” and other key figures to the SAR. Lee explained:
“We are inviting prominent guests, from business heavyweights and political dignitaries, to media chiefs and influencers, to come to Hong Kong and see for themselves the welcoming atmosphere, promising opportunities, and many exciting developments and new attractions here.”
As for the free tickets, you can monitor this official airport site for developments and updates on the giveaway campaign.
Hong Kong wants visitors back and will be giving away 500,000 tickets in order to woo travelers back. The giveaway will begin next month.
We’ll update this post once more details become available concerning the giveaway.
Are you ready to return to Hong Kong?
images: Hong Kong Airport Authority
Is Hong Kong safe now? Have they dealt with the terrorist protestors that destroyed the city in 2019?
I wouldn’t go there h til the Chinese government deals with their terrorist problem.
Is your last name Orwell?
I took the kids to Disneyland during the protests. Park was empty, it was great! Literally zero wait for anything.
You wouldn’t go there till the government deals with the terrorist problem?
Well I loved Hong Kong- been many times and got engaged there but I won’t be returning until Hong Kongers have dealt with the Chinese Government problem (which I suspect, alas, will never happen). No amount of free tickets could tempt me back to any part of China whilst Xi is turning clock back so harshly.
Hong Kong used to be an amazing place. China destroyed it. Zero intention to go anywhere close to China. Easy pass.
I wonder if they did that intentionally to weaken it: making it easier to manage.
“Are you ready to return to Hong Kong?”
Nope, eyeing Singapore and Seoul, hopefully, as my return to Asia destinations.
Wife and I were planning to go to Hong Kong or Taipei in April. I was a bit surprised reading this article because, from the business class ticket prices I saw yesterday, I had assumed Hong Kong had no shortage of demand. It was $5k+ for SFO-HKG on Cathay versus $3k+ for SFO-TPE on EVA.
Sorry, China and Hong Kong have lost their credibility with tourists. Most people in the miles and points hobby are avoiding layovers at HKG like the plague. Better to layover in a stable place like Singapore than risk the thought police arresting me for a perceived threat to the regime in HKG.
I’d love to visit Hong Kong. A city with so much history.
That being said it’s my view that Xi is almost certain to plunge us into a major war when he invades Taiwan. He’s given every indication that he considers it his destiny to do so.
So no I won’t be visiting China (of which Hong Kong is now a city much like any other) anytime in the near future. Even if it is free.
Like a good friend who has passed away, I prefer to remember the Hong Kong of the good days, pre COVID and China crackdown. It was an awesome place.
Bribery doesn’t fool anyone after you strip everyone’s freedoms. It’s sad the Communists destroyed Hong Kong. Taiwan (free China) is where you want to go.