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 allows travellers to select their departure location and enter a draw to win a round-trip ticket. The giveaway periods are staggered, depending on what part of the world you live in.
Travellers from Europe
The ticket giveaway has now ended for travellers from the UK and Europe. Entrants were asked to register for tickets on Cathay Pacific’s website and complete a quiz. Tickets will be allocated to those who answered the questions correctly on a first come, first served basis. Winners from the UK will be contacted with details on how to redeem their prize on June 5.
Travellers from North America
Starting May 17, travellers from the USA and Canada can apply for tickets from Cathay Pacific. The US giveaway opens at 5pm PST/8pm EST, while the Canada giveaway opens at 6pm PST/9pm EST. The entry period will close on May 24.
Travellers from Australia and New Zealand
The giveaway will open to travellers from Australia and New Zealand on May 29.
Travellers from Asia
The giveaway is now closed for Southeast Asian travellers, but travellers from Seoul can apply from now until the end of June. Those from Japan and Taiwan wanting to win a free trip can apply from June and July. A portion of tickets has been awarded to travellers from mainland China, with more to come, according to Hong Kong Airport’s website. Travellers from Hong Kong wanting to win a return trip can apply in July.
Travellers from other destinations
The giveaway has ended now for travellers from Tel Aviv, but travellers from the UAE, Nepal, India and Bangladesh can apply from May 22. The giveaway also opens to South African travellers from June 6.
What airlines are taking part in the promotion?
Tickets will be available from the following airlines.
You must be signed up to Cathay Pacific’s website to enter the draw.
Hong Kong’s budget airline HK Express will also be giving away free air tickets.
Hong Kong Airlines
Hong Kong Airlines are giving away free round-trip flights from Seoul to HK.
Greater Bay Airlines
Visitors from Asia can enter to win flights to Hong Kong from 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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