Edited by: Revati Hariharan

Last updated: Feb 02, 2023 7:06 PM IST

The Hello Hong Kong campaign is a $255 million campaign to boost tourism. (Representative photo)

The scheme is part of a large-scale advertising campaign to attract tourists from all over the world. Over the past few months, Hong Kong has lifted several travel restrictions due to Covid, including mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

In a bid to boost tourism, Hong Kong will reportedly give away half a million air tickets from next month as part of the Hello Hong Kong campaign.

According to AP, the scheme is part of a massive advertising campaign to attract tourists from all over the world. Over the past few months, Hong Kong has lifted several travel restrictions due to Covid, including mandatory quarantine on arrival.

The $255 million campaign will be launched by Hong Kong leader John Lee and is expected to reach more than 200 business, cultural and tourism events.

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How will the free airfare scheme work?

The ticket raffle will start on March 1, 2023 and will run for the next six months. Ticket distribution will be phased in and will be handled by Hong Kong-based airlines Cathay Pacific, HK Express and Hong Kong Airlines, reports say.

Tickets will be distributed first in Southeast Asian countries, then in mainland China, and then in the northeast parts of Asia.

The director general of the airport administration said: “We hope that those who buy air tickets will be able to bring two or three more relatives and friends to the city. While we are simply giving away 500,000 tickets, we believe this could help attract more than 1.5 million visitors to Hong Kong.”

The city is reportedly planning to host more than 250 events and festivals in 2023. Among other things, the Hong Kong Marathon Clockenflap music festival may be launched.

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Incentives for Hong Kong Residents

In addition to half a million tickets for foreign tourists, it is planned to distribute 80,000 free tickets to Hong Kong residents in the summer.

Vouchers will also be provided that will allow you to receive discounts on food, drinks, transportation and hotels in the region. Coupons for residents will be available from Thursday at tourist offices, Euronews reported.

Recovering from the pandemic

Hong Kong is looking to catch up with other popular tourist destinations in fierce regional competition. During the pandemic, the city had a “COVID zero” strategy. Even after it reopened the border with mainland China in January, the recovery in tourism has reportedly been sluggish.

“Hong Kong is now seamlessly connected to mainland China and the entire international world, and there will be no lockdown or quarantine,” CEO John Lee said at the ceremony. “This is the perfect time for tourists, business travelers and investors from near and far to come and say ‘Hi Hong Kong’.

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In 2019, 56 million people visited Hong Kong, more than seven times its pre-pandemic population. But its stringent COVID-19 restrictions have kept visitors out for the past three years, devastating the tourism sector and its economy. According to preliminary government data, the city’s GDP fell 3.5% last year compared to 2021.

Over the past few months, he has finally lifted the mandatory quarantine rule in hotels and PCR tests for incoming travelers, resulting in a slight increase in the number of arrivals. However, the number of visitors in 2022 was only 1% of the 2019 level.

(with access point inputs)

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