Hong Kong’s tourism feels welcome spring breeze

The SAR government is handing out 500,000 free flight tickets to tourists from all over the world.

Photo from CFP

Photo from CFP

By XUE Bingbing, ZHANG Xilong


With Covid restrictions lifted, Hong Kong is making haste to revive its tourism market.

From February 6, cross border travel between the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macau will fully resume without any Covid restrictions, Chinese authorities said on Friday.

Flying free

According to of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau affairs office, those crossing border from Shenzhen to Hong Kong no longer have to make an appointment and the daily limit on the number of people crossing will be scrapped.

Travelers entering the mainland from Hong Kong or Macau will no longer need a negative PCR test, unless they have been to other countries in the past seven days.

On Thursday, John Lee, chief executive of Hong Kong, said the city will hand out 500,000 free flight tickets to tourists all over the world. The first round of the free tickets will be aimed at the Southeast Aisan market, while tousists from the Chinese mainland will get their chances in April. Online travel agency Fliggy owned by Alibaba told Jiemian News it has started negotiations with Hong Kong agencies about the free tickets.

The free tickets will be given out by lottery or snap-up events, some local airlines will offer tourists buy one, get one for free promotions.

Testing times

Meanwhile, Hong Kong based airlines are planning to offer 80,000 free tickets to local residents to boost outbound tourism.

Hong Kong airport saw a passenger flow of 1.6 million people in December last year, almost ten times more than a year before.

The theme parks in Hong Kong are also having tourists back. During Spring Festival, tourism activity on Dazhong Dianping was five times more than last year.

The rising number of tourists put the services of the parks under test, after three years having little visitors.

Recruitment drive

Theme parks are recruiting staff. Hong Kong Disneyland was closed for more than half a year in 2020 and almost as much in 2021. Its guest flow in these two years added up to 4.5 million, only 70 percent of 2019’s total. Hong Kong Ocean Park had worse with only 1.4 million tourists, a quarter of those in 2019.

Parks have tried to retain employees, but cut salaries and put many on leave without pay. On Thursday, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort launched a hiring event for 600 job with no educational requirements. Full-time job posts offer a decent HK$14,200 (US$1,800, 12,000 yuan) to HK$24,000 monthly salary.