Why is Hong Kong giving away free air tickets?
The city is making the big statement to lure back its tourists after its strict COVID-19 restrictions kept most visitors away, and its tourism industry – an important part of its economy – took a big hit.
In the past few months, the city finally dropped its mandatory hotel quarantine rule and PCR tests for incoming travelers, resulting in a slight increase in arrival figures. Still, its 2022 visitor numbers were just 1% of the 2019 level.
“We hope those who secure the air tickets can bring two or three more relatives and friends to the city. Although we are just giving away 500,000 air tickets, we believe this can help bring Hong Kong over 1.5 million visitors,” Fred Lam, CEO of Airport Authority Hong Kong, said.
How does the Hello Hong Kong free ticket campaign work?
For a chance to win in the campaign, people can either register on the Hong Kong airport website and check back for when they are eligible to participate or go directly to the airlines’ websites when eligible. The airlines – Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong Express and Hong Kong Airlines – will distribute the tickets in phases based on the location of residence.
Under the campaign, most of the plane tickets – worth 2 billion Hong Kong dollars ($255 million) – will be determined through various promotional activities, including lucky draws, “buy one, get one free” promotions and games, according to Lam.
According to the website, all tickets will be round-trip economy class and “related surcharges, fees and taxes” will still be paid by the winner.
Who is eligible to get free tickets to Hong Kong?
It seems like Asian residents are the first targeted demographic of the campaign, according to the Hong Kong airport website.
It won’t be until May that those living outside of Asia can apply.
When does the campaign start?
The campaign will begin on March 1 for those in Southeast Asia. Each month for six months, a new market will become eligible. The exact launch dates will be announced.
What are the extra vouchers for visitors?
Visitors are also offered other incentives to help them enjoy the city, called “Hong Kong Goodies”:
- A complimentary welcome drink worth over HK$100 (a little less than $13) from one of 100 participating bars, restaurants and hotels.
- A HK$100 cash voucher to be redeemed in the transportation, culinary and retail sectors and attractions. Over 140 businesses are participating and there’s no minimum spending requirement.
- An exclusive gift worth over HK$100 at “one of many attractions and museums in Hong Kong as a special memorabilia of your visit.”
To be eligible for the Hong Kong Goodies voucher, the traveler must be in the city for 90 days or less and have a non-Hong Kong phone number. They can pick up the voucher at one of the four Hong Kong Tourism Board Visitor Centres.