California Observer

Hong Kong to revive its tourism sector

Hong Kong

Image Source: CNN

Hong Kong claims it would give away 500,000 airline tickets worth HK$2bn ($254.8m; £224.3m) to resuscitate its COVID-damaged tourism business.

Recently, the city loosened several of its coronavirus laws. However, restoring major airlines’ flight schedules to pre-pandemic levels is a challenge.

British airline Virgin Atlantic announced on Wednesday that it would cease operations in Hong Kong due to issues associated with the Ukraine conflict.

According to Dane Cheng, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, the airport authorities would finalize agreements with airline companies. As soon as the government says that it will eliminate all COVID-19 restrictions for incoming travelers, Mr., we’ll begin running advertisements for the free flights. In addition, according to Cheng, the city’s airport management would give outward and incoming tourists free tickets that were bought to aid airlines during the pandemic.

After 30 years as the hub of Asian aviation, Virgin Atlantic announced that it would shut down operations there and stop running flights between the city and London Heathrow.

The British carrier claims that the severe operational difficulties caused by the prolonged limitation of Russian airspace had an impact on the commercial decision not to resume flights as planned in March 2023.

The airline, founded by billionaire Richard Branson, stopped operating flights to Hong Kong in December.

In order to avoid flying over the area where Russia has invaded Ukraine, many airlines have decided to cancel or reroute their flights.

Up until recently, Hong Kong likely had the tightest rules because it accepted China’s zero-COVID policies.

Last month, the Hong Kong’s government announced that visitors to the city would no longer require a hotel quarantine or a positive COVID test in order to board flights to Hong Kong.

Three days after landing, travelers are now required to examine themselves for suspected diseases. The revelation led to a spike in demand for flights to and from Hong Kong.

According to senior analyst, Prudence Lai of market research company Euromonitor International, free air travel could speed the process of regaining Hong Kong’s reputation as a premier tourism destination.

184,000 people traveled to Hong Kong in the first eight months of this year. Overall, 56 million people visited the city in 2019, which is a significant drop in visitors from before the outbreak.

Hong Kong will end its strict hotel quarantine law

The Hong Kong government has declared that starting on Monday, visitors won’t have to book a hotel room for the mandatory quarantine period.

Additionally, before boarding an aircraft for Hong Kong, travelers will not be required to submit a negative COVID test. They will instead monitor any possible infections for three days.

Due to the announcement, there was a rush to purchase tickets to Hong Kong, and the Cathay Pacific website created a booking backlog.

In October, the airline added more than 200 flight pairs to nearby and distant locales.

Hong Kong adheres to China’s zero-COVID policy, which results in the harshest laws in the world.

In order to decide to depart from what the mainland is doing, it has been patiently waiting. There have been entrance restrictions for more than two years.

There are still rules in place for travelers. They are not allowed to enter public areas like restaurants or shopping malls for the first three days following arrival. They must also have PCR tests on days 2, 4, and 6.

Read Also: China extends COVID lockdown in Xinjiang 

However, the prolonged border closure has negatively impacted Hong Kong’s economy, making the Asian financial center less competitive than nearby rivals like Singapore.

According to the Global Financial Centers Index, Singapore has supplanted the city as Asia’s leading financial market.

Reference:

Hong Kong begins its post-COVID revival

Opinions expressed by California Observer contributors are their own.

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