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To boost tourism, COVID struck Hong Kong to give away 500,000 air tickets

Hong Kong’s tourism index

Based on reliable sources of the Hong Kong tourist board, Hong Kong’s five main inbound tourism source markets (Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea) were from January 2019 to December 2020. With its fusion of eastern and western traditions, Hong Kong has earned the title of “shopping paradise,” drawing in millions of visitors each year for both shopping and sightseeing. In 2019, there were 11.87 million incoming visitors that arrived in Hong Kong by airway. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, there was a sharp decline in 2020, with just 0.85 million cases reported.

In Hong Kong, the tourism sector has been a critical pillar due to its considerable economic impact. The city had a large worldwide following before the covid-19 outbreak, with 58.47 million and 65.15 million foreign visitors in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Around a quarter of a million people were employed by the tourist sector, which in 2018 contributed around 5% of Hong Kong’s GDP. Given the significance of tourism, the covid-19 epidemic not only caused significant losses in the industry but also had a significant negative influence on Hong Kong’s economy, particularly on closely associated industries like retail, catering, and hotel services. Before the epidemic, most domestic and international passengers came to Hong Kong by flight, except the exception of those from mainland china, who primarily traveled by land.

Coronavirus will cost global tourism at least $1.2 trillion | UNCTAD

Impact of covid-19 on Hong Kong’s tourism

In Hong Kong, there have been devastating losses in the aviation and tourist industries. Furthermore, several travel constraints, most notably cross-border control, social distancing requirements, and quarantine standards, have lowered the number of inbound foreign visitor arrivals dramatically. 

As a vital part of the global pandemic response, a strict two-week quarantine was originally implemented for visitor landings from high-risk nations and was eventually expanded to all nations.

It is important to note that the international tourism sector has been subjected to a wide range of crises (the SARS outbreak, tsunamis, etc.)  According to the world tourism organization (UNWTO), experiencing the most serious issues of the worldwide covid-19 epidemic in recent decades, but none have caused such a deep shock, most likely as a result of unprecedented travel restrictions and border closures implemented by governments worldwide. 

Early studies found that worldwide tourist movements, particularly air travel, were critical to the fast spread of covid-19, and limits on international air travel are widely regarded as one of the most effective methods to minimize imported cases.

Hong Kong - TOURISM

Hong Kong’s tourism industry’s major contribution to the country

Hong Kong has disclosed plans to give away 500,000 plane tickets to foreign travelers to bolster its Covid-19-affected tourism industry.

As previously noted, Hong Kong has some of the strictest quarantine standards in the world as it mirrored china’s ‘zero-Covid’ policy. This last month, the city declared that visitors would no longer be needed to undergo extensive hotel quarantine or present a negative Covid test before boarding a flight to Hong Kong.

A representative for the airport authority Hong Kong (AAHK) revealed plans to give away half a million plane tickets to residents and worldwide tourists to encourage tourism.

According to the spokesman, AAHK acquired around 500,000 flying tickets in advance from the territory’s home-based carriers in 2020 as part of a relief package to sustain the aviation industry. He went on to say that the acquisition is intended to pump liquidity into the airline’s finances, while the tickets would be distributed to worldwide tourists and Hong Kong locals as part of the market recovery drive.

According to Dane Cheng, executive director of the Hong Kong tourism board- “the airport authority will finalize the arrangement with airline companies. Once the government announces it will remove all covid-19 restrictions for inbound travelers, we’ll roll out the advertising campaigns for the free air tickets,” 

Hong Kong’s government said it would no longer require people arriving in the city to go into hotel quarantine or show a negative Covid test before boarding flights to Hong Kong.

Now, in the three days after arriving travelers have to monitor themselves for possible infection. The news sparked a rush for flight tickets to and from Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong government implemented international travel controls and limitations to combat and limit the spread of the covid-19 virus, which has halted the major tourism industry, as a solution they are promoting its tourism by offering free tickets to keep its tourism economy boosted.

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