Hong Kong has announced that it will give away 500,000 plane tickets worth HK$2bn ($254.8m; £224.3m) in an effort to revive its tourism industry, which has been adversely affected by COVID.
After two years of travel restrictions, the popular destination that used to receive around 56 lakh visitors per year before the pandemic is attempting to regain its ground.
Hong Kong has confirmed plans to give away half a million airline tickets, just days after scrapping the mandatory hotel quarantine requirement.
Notably, the city has recently relaxed a number of its coronavirus regulations. Despite this, major airlines are battling to restore their flight schedules to pre-epidemic levels.
The conflict in Ukraine has caused problems for British airline Virgin Atlantic, which announced on Wednesday that it will stop operating in Hong Kong.
5 Lakh Free Air Tickets
The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), which confirmed the move, stated that in addition to locals, foreign visitors would receive 5 lakh tickets, valued at approximately $254.8 million.
AAHK spokesperson said;
“Back in 2020, AAHK purchased around 5,00,000 air tickets in advance from the territory’s home-based airlines as part of a relief package to support the aviation industry.”
“The purchase serves the purpose of injecting liquidity into the airlines up front, while the tickets will be given away to global visitors and Hong Kong residents in the market recovery campaign.”
However, they stated that more information will be released once the necessary arrangements with airlines have been made.
Until recently, Hong Kong had some of the strictest laws in the world due to its adherence to China’s zero Covid regulations. The Hong Kong government announced last month that visitors to the city will no longer be required to undergo hotel quarantine or show a negative Covid test before boarding flights to Hong Kong.
Travellers are now required to check themselves for potential infections three days after arrival. When the news broke, flights to and from Hong Kong were in high demand.