Hong Kong offers 500,000 free plane tickets – Travel Weekly
Hong Kong’s tourism industry is offering 500,000 free air tickets to attract travelers looking to spend big.
This sponsorship campaign will see the Hong Kong government provide the tickets for various local carriers and is expected to start in “early 2023”, according to the South China Morning Post.
The Hong Kong Airports Authority has earmarked HK$2 billion (A$346.8 million) in 2020 to buy air tickets from carriers including Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Express and Hong Kong Airlines.
Part of the tickets will be given to outbound travelers and part will be distributed through travel agents, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB).
Hong Kong lawmaker and Airport Authority board member Lo Wai-kwok said the arrangement was not yet finalized with the airlines, but he expected some of the tickets go to business travelers attending trade shows or conferences in the city.
“It’s like the incentive or promotion program for exhibitors or buyers who attend a trade show. Usually they get free plane tickets to come to Hong Kong to attend the expo,” Lo said.
Lo said the tickets should be distributed to various groups of travelers from various locations, including mainland China which accounted for most arrivals to Hong Kong in the past.
“The free tickets should benefit those who travel frequently to Hong Kong or who have close ties [to the city]whether for business or leisure purposes,” he said, referring to mainland tourists.
“I hope that through this stimulus plan, travelers from different parts of the world will come to visit Hong Kong to revive the economy.”
Travel Industry Council chairwoman Gianna Hsu Wong Mei-lun said she was still in discussion with the airport authority and said the number of tickets for inbound travelers would be larger than for outbound travelers. , with mainlanders being a heavily targeted group. She also suggested tying tickets to spending packages to encourage travelers to splurge in Hong Kong.
“We think it’s not just about giving away plane tickets. We also hope to create a multiplier effect on different sectors, such as hotels and restaurants,” she said.
“We don’t want travelers to receive free tickets and travel alone. We have to have an expense package tied to their tickets to make sure they loosen their purse strings at various venues in Hong Kong.
In a bid to bring Australians to Hong Kong, HKTB recently launched its new campaign featuring Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins, but it attracted sharp criticism Hong Kong expats living in Australia.
Critics said the ads trivialize human rights abuses in the province, the pro-Beijing government’s crackdown on pro-democracy leaders, media censorship and the jailing of political figures.
The Hong Kong government has ended its mandatory three-day quarantine late last month. Travelers also no longer have to provide a negative PCR test before boarding a plane.