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Hong Kong is offering 500,000 free tickets to lure tourists back

Hong Kong attracted around 56 million visitors a year before the pandemic, and now the popular destination is taking big steps to win tourists back after more than two years of some of the world’s strictest travel restrictions.
Just days after lifting its long-standing mandatory hotel quarantine, Hong Kong has confirmed plans to give away half a million airline tickets in a bid to boost tourism.

The move, which was first announced two years ago, was confirmed to CNN by a spokesperson for the Airport Authority of Hong Kong (AAHK), who said 500,000 tickets worth approximately $254.8 million will go to global visitors along with residents.
“In 2020, the Airports Authority of Hong Kong has pre-purchased approximately 500,000 tickets from local airlines as part of an aid package to support the aviation industry,” the spokeswoman said.

“The purchase serves the purpose of injecting liquidity into the airlines in advance while the tickets will be distributed to global visitors and Hong Kong residents as part of the market recovery campaign.”
More details will be announced once the relevant arrangements are made with the airlines, they said.
Hong Kong has been largely cut off from the rest of the world due to its Covid-19 quarantine rules, which at one stage required arriving travelers to spend 21 days in a hotel room at their own expense, with only Hong Kong residents allowed to enter. .
The quarantine period was reduced from seven to three days when it was officially lifted on September 26, prompting crowds of residents to log on to airline websites and book flights.

Cathay Pacific, the city’s flagship carrier, set up a virtual “waiting room” to access its website at one point, while online travel booking service Expedia saw a nine-fold increase in searches for flights from Hong Kong to Tokyo and an 11-fold increase. an increase in flights from Hong Kong to Osaka — although demand for flights to Hong Kong remained unchanged, according to Lavinia Rajaram, Expedia’s head of public relations in Asia.

“We hope to provide the maximum space to reconnect Hong Kong and revive our economy,” Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee said at a press conference on Friday.

But while the hotel quarantine may have been lifted, visitors to Hong Kong still face various rules and restrictions before and after arrival.
Incoming international passengers must present a pre-flight vaccination certificate, a negative PCR test and a rapid antigen test before entry.
Once allowed inside, visitors must undergo a three-day self-control period during which they are prohibited from eating in restaurants or visiting bars.
Visitors must also undergo PCR tests on days 2, 4 and 6 after arrival and a rapid antigen test every day for seven days.

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