500,000 people may be eligible to take advantage of complimentary long-distance flights as part of a plan to encourage more people to purchase airline tickets.
The Hong Kong airport administration has confirmed that plans to distribute 500,000 tickets that were pre-purchased two years ago are going as planned.
The idea is to charge clients to use Hong Kong Airlines’ services in order to support them as they begin to reopen to tourists.
Hong Kong has basically been shut off from the rest of the world due to its Covid-19 quarantine restrictions, which at one point required arriving travellers to spend 21 days at their own expense in a hotel room with only Hong Kong residents being granted access.
For a very long time, Hong Kong’s COVID limitations have prevented any tourism.
The quarantine period was officially cut from seven to three days on September 26. As a result, throngs of residents visited airline websites to book flights.
Expedia, an online travel service, observed a spike in demand for flights from Hong Kong to Tokyo and Osaka of nine and eleven times, respectively. The city’s main airline, Cathay Pacific, constructed a virtual “waiting room” for users to access its website at one point.
As previously mentioned, Hong Kong had arguably of the tightest quarantine laws in the entire world because it accepted China’s “zero-Covid” rules. The requirement to submit to hotel quarantine or to have a COVID test come back negative before boarding a trip to Hong Kong, however, was abolished as of last month.
Why does promoting travel by offering free flights?
Prudence Lai believes that giving away free plane tickets will hasten Hong Kong’s process of restoring its status as a top tourist destination. The senior analyst at market research company Euromonitor International told the BBC that Hong Kong’s pre-Covid position represented the market’s potential for a complete recovery.
Both incoming and outgoing tourists would be given free tickets the following year, according to Lai.
The Covid curbs in the city were taken out last month. Now, all international guests are welcome to return to their homes or other accommodations of their choice, but they must engage in self-monitoring for three days after leaving the Chinese special administrative hub.
Free flights and enticing tourists will boost corporate margins.
In the upcoming few months, the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong predicts an increase in outbound travel of 50%. The most current statistics provided by the tourism bureau show that between January and August 2022, there were little over 183,600 visitors to Hong Kong. Despite being a significant gain over the prior year, the BBC adds that this still falls well short of the pre-pandemic estimates of 56 million in 2019.
How does one submit an application for free travel to Hong Kong?
There is no trustworthy information on how to apply for these gratis seats because Hong Kong plans to distribute them free of charge the following year. The Hong Kong airport administration will issue tickets to both incoming and departing passengers. But there is currently no schedule in place.
The BBC was informed by Dane Cheng, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, that as soon as the government declares that it will remove all Covid-19 restrictions for arriving travellers, Hong Kong Tourism will start the promotional campaigns for the free tickets. He added that the agreement between the airline firms and the airport administration will be finalised.
If there are any updates about the availability of the free tickets, we will keep you informed.
So, the main focus of this was Hong Kong’s decision to permit more than 400k flights in order to boost tourism.