Hong Kong gives free plane tickets to travelers | spcilvly

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Hong Kong was attracting around 56 million visitors a year before the pandemic, and now the popular destination is taking major steps to win back tourists after more than two years of some of the world’s strictest travel restrictions.

Just days after scrapping its long-standing 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 for the Airport Authority of Hong Kong (AAHK), who said the 500,000 tickets, valued at about $254.8 million, would go to visitors. from all over the world, together with residents.

“In 2020, the Hong Kong Airport Authority purchased around 500,000 flight tickets in advance from airlines based in the territory as part of an aid package to support the aviation industry,” the spokesperson says.

“The purchase aims to inject liquidity to airlines in advance, while tickets will be given away to global visitors and Hong Kong residents in the market recovery drive.”

Travelers in the departure hall at Hong Kong International Airport on September 26.

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

Hong Kong has been largely isolated from the rest of the world due to its Covid-19 quarantine rules, which at one point required incoming travelers to spend 21 days in a hotel room at their own expense, with only entry to Hong Kong residents.

The quarantine period had been reduced from seven to three days when it was officially lifted on September 26, prompting many residents to log onto airline websites to book flights.

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

“We hope to give maximum space to reconnect Hong Kong and revitalize our economy,” Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee said at a news conference on Friday.

But while hotel quarantine may have been lifted, visitors to Hong Kong still face several rules and restrictions before and after arriving.

Incoming international travelers will be required to present a pre-flight vaccination certificate, as well as a negative PCR test and a rapid antigen test, before entry.

Once allowed in, visitors must undergo a three-day self-monitoring period, during which time they are prohibited from eating in restaurants or visiting bars.

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

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