LONDON – The Hong Kong Government has said they will give away 500,000 airplane-tickets in an attempt to boost and recover Hong Kong’s tourism rates. The hope is they will will fully return to pre-covid numbers in the coming time. The 500,000 airplane tickets are said to be worth HK$2 billion (roughly $254.8 million USD). The attempt of recovery comes just after Hong Kong lifted even more restrictions and opened borders for tourism.
In the last few weeks, the Hong Kong government lifted even more restrictions. Cathay Pacific has massively increased their frequencies to other countries and destinations, as demand for airfares to Hong Kong showed themselves to increase in demand.
In a hope to further boost tourism rates in Hong Kong, the government are now opening up to give 500,000 airplane tickets for free. The Government will rack up a HK$2 billion bill as a result. The amount equals to roughly $255 million USD, and will be an attempt to return tourism rates to pre-covid status.
The 500,000 free tickets will be distributed throughout next year, for inbound and outbound travellers of Hong Kong, with airlines serving Hong Kong and Hong Kong Int’l Airport (HKG).
The airlines applying in these 500,000 free airplane tickets remain unknown as of now. Candidates could be Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Express and Air Hong Kong.
Cathay’s post-covid expansion
As AviationSource covered just few weeks ago, Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific were set to increase flight frequencies, to further boost the sentiment for travel and gradually increase travel activity to Hong Kong. It comes after over two years of practicing a “zero-covid” policy. This has made travel a nightmare for both tourists and even air crew.
During October and the months following, Cathay Pacific intends to add over 200 passenger flight pairs to both International and regional destinations. As Japan also recently lifted their restrictions, they are of no exception to this expansion.
With Japan calming down on Covid regulations, Cathay Pacific are aiming to resume daily flights to Tokyo’s Haneda airport (HND) from November 1st, and further on with Sapporo starting again on December 1st.
In addition to these, further flights to Japan, such as Narita (NRT) and Osaka (ITM) which will see minor increases in flight frequencies by Cathay Pacific. They will rise from 43 pairs, to 50 pairs further in October of this year.
It’s clear that the Hong Kong government are rolling up their sleeves and readying up for an attempt to finally allowing tourists in to their country. Two years after the pandemic began, the country is finally reducing what some called the strictest covid rules.
With the recovery of the East-Asian aviation market in general, and borders opening up more and more, it’s not unlikely that eastern Asian carriers, like Cathay Pacific will see full flights. This also applies as a possibility if they are to be part of the government’s free flight tickets-program