Last year, the Hong Kong tourist board announced plans to give away half a million free plane tickets to encourage tourism in 2023 – and now it’s finally, officially happening.
Details of the giveaway were unveiled on February 2 by Hong Kong’s leader John Lee Ka-chiu, as part of the ‘Hello Hong Kong’ campaign.
How to get free air tickets to Hong Kong
Hong Kong Airport’s website currently allows travellers from certain countries to select their departure location and enter a draw to win a round-trip ticket. Keep an eye on the website to see when tickets become available from your part of the world.
When do the free flights go on sale?
Hong Kong’s free ticket giveaway will be staggered over the next few months, with the 500,000 airline tickets up for grabs allocated to different areas of the world on a monthly basis.
It kicked off on March 1, with airline Cathay Pacific announcing they will initially give 80,000 tickets away to residents of south-east Asian countries. Travellers from mainland China will be able to apply from April 1. The rest of the world – including Europe and the USA – will be able to get tickets from May 1. Sign up on Cathay Pacific’s website to be the first to know when tickets are available.
What airlines are taking part in the promotion?
Tickets will be available from the airlines Cathay Pacific, HK Express, Hong Kong Airlines and Greater Bay Airlines.
What other discounts are available?
As if free flights weren’t enough, visitors will also be offered discounts on things like restaurants, shops, museums and more. It’s all in aid of bolstering tourism in the region under the ‘Hello Hong Kong’ campaign. You can find out more about the discounts on offer here.
Why are they launching the free air ticket campaign?
The Hong Kong Tourism Board already bought tickets from carriers back in 2020 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.
Sounds pretty good, right? We certainly think 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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