Hot on the heels of Japan reopening to travel, another Asian travel hotspot has started welcoming visitors again – and it’s got a very tempting scheme to get you to visit. The Hong Kong tourist board plans to give away half a million free plane tickets to encourage tourism in 2023.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board has already bought the tickets – it purchased them in 2020 from carriers including Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Express and Cathay Pacific as part of the government support package for the aviation sector.
A one-way flight to Hong Kong would normally cost upwards of £500 from London or $1,000 from the west coast of the USA, and in total, it’s estimated the giveaway scheme will cost the Hong Kong government HK$2 billion to run. But that’s clearly worth it for a destination that has seen its tourist industry more or less completely collapse over the past few years – first due to the civil unrest of 2019, then the pandemic and one of the world’s strictest travel lockdowns.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board says that it will announce more details of the free plane tickets once all remaining local health restrictions are lifted, aiming to launch the campaign in early 2023. Initially, the giveaway would target south-east Asian countries.
There are still significant barriers to rebooting HK’s tourist industry, including the closure of Russian airspace and ongoing restrictions in mainland China. But so a free trip to check out Hong Kong’s incredible restaurants, best-in-class bars, distinctive local neighbourhoods and mountainous hiking trails would be too good to pass up. Watch this space for updates.
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