Hong Kong is expected to offer 500,000 free airline tickets to lure visitors back to the city as Virgin Atlantic has announced it will be halting its route there for the first time in 30 years.
The giveaway, valued at HK$2 billion (€261 million), is set to hit the market in early 2023.
“As soon as the government announces that it will lift all Covid-19 restrictions on inbound travelers, we will launch the promotion campaigns for the free flight tickets,” Dane Cheng Ting-yat, executive director of the tourism association, reported South China tomorrow post (SCMP).
Airport operations are responsible for distributing free tickets.
It follows the announcement that the SAR will finally relax some of its strict Covid entry rules for arrivals.
After effectively shutting down Hong Kong for the past 30 months, Hong Kong ended mandatory hotel quarantine for overseas travelers on September 26.
The requirement for a pre-departure PCR test has also been removed, although international arrivals still have to complete a test at the airport.
Visitors will have to monitor their health for the first three days, during which their movements around the city will have to be restricted – they can use public transport from the airport and leave their hotels, but are not allowed into bars or restaurants.
Though it was a “significant” step forward, said Yonden Lhatoo, the news agency’s editor-in-chief SCMPSaid at the time: “The Government will not commit to – or has not yet committed to – a roadmap or timeline for a full reopening of the city, which many are calling for, considering the rest of the world has moved on and pretty much started to deal with Covid -19 to be treated like the common flu.”
Virgin Atlantic, which has operated a regular route from London for 30 years, announced on Wednesday that it has taken the “difficult decision to suspend our services between London Heathrow and Hong Kong and to close our Hong Kong office”.
Flights were originally scheduled to resume in March 2023 after being suspended since December 2021.
A spokesman for the airline blamed “significant operational complexities due to the ongoing closure of Russian airspace” for the decision to suspend service.
They added: “Our staff and customers in Hong Kong have been amazing since we first landed at the famous Kai Tak Airport in 1994 and have since provided a vital link between the UK and Hong Kong for thousands of customers and supported global supply chains through.” our freight operations.
“We apologize for the disappointment caused to our loyal customers on this route and everyone who has booked voyage from March 2023 onwards will be offered a refund, voucher or the option to rebook on an alternative Virgin Atlantic route. “
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/hong-kong-to-offer-500000-free-flight-tickets-to-lure-back-tourists-42053700.html Hong Kong is offering 500,000 free plane tickets to lure tourists back