Hong Kong to offer away half one million air tickets to spice up tourism


Hong Kong’s new international promotional marketing campaign will «kickstart» the town’s reopening to worldwide vacationers, the Hong Kong Tourism Board informed CNBC’s «Squawk Box Asia» on Friday.

As a part of the «Hello Hong Kong» marketing campaign, which was launched on Thursday, 500,000 air tickets might be given away over the following six months, beginning in March.

The tickets might be given out by way of three Hong Kong’s carriers — Cathay Pacific, HK Express and Hong Kong Airlines.

The free tickets are a part of the HK$2 billion ($255 million) reduction package deal that the federal government provided to airways in 2020, through the top of the pandemic.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board can also be investing a minimal of HK$100 million within the promotion of the marketing campaign’s preliminary section, it mentioned on the launch ceremony.

But Hong Kong nonetheless faces a «dilemma» — its infrastructure has some catching as much as do to accommodate the rise in guests, mentioned Dane Cheng, the tourism board’s government director.

«I believe this dilemma, now we have truly been seeing from different markets and locations after they began to reopen within the final yr or so. It’s troublesome to catch up … significantly for the airways, the airports and even resorts,» he informed CNBC.

«[But] you wish to kickstart and … inform the world in a transparent message that Hong Kong after which mainland — now we have lastly reopened.»

How the tickets are allotted

The ticket giveaway might be phased: It will begin with Southeast Asian markets, adopted by mainland China and North Asia, and lastly, different components of the world.

Some 80,000 tickets have additionally been reserved for Hong Kong residents which authorities intention to offer out in the summertime.

The variety of tickets for every area was primarily based on «visitors shares» and customer numbers from earlier than the pandemic, Cheng mentioned.

Fred Lam, the CEO of Hong Kong’s airport authority, additionally expects the free tickets to have multiplying results on the variety of guests.

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«We hope those that acquired the tickets will carry 2-3 extra family and friends with them [to Hong Kong],» in keeping with CNBC’s translations of Lam’s feedback on the marketing campaign launch ceremony.

«Even although we’re solely giving out 500,000 air tickets, we imagine it can carry in additional than 1.5 million incoming vacationers,» Lam added. That’s about 10% of the entire variety of guests anticipated through the marketing campaign interval.

As for the way guests can get their palms on these free tickets, it can depend upon «native market laws and customs,» he mentioned.

«[That] might embody large-scale fortunate attracts, giving it out by way of a first-come-first serve foundation, providing buy-on-get-one free tickets, or by way of recreation participations,» Lam mentioned.

‘Very clearly reopened’

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On Friday, China mentioned cross-border journey with Hong Kong and Macao would totally resume from Feb. 6, scrapping obligatory pre-departure checks and lifting arrival quotas, in keeping with a Reuters report.

«I believe it’s extremely clear that the Hong Kong authorities and in addition our mainland central authorities has been very prudent and so they [made] it very clear that all the things needs to be summarized in an orderly and progressive method,» Cheng mentioned.

He added that earlier than the pandemic, Hong Kong had «over 25 million in a single day guests» every year, and it’ll take the town time to «get again» these numbers.

Return of MICE occasions in Hong Kong

Cheng mentioned the previous two to a few years had been «troublesome» for Hong Kong’s MICE (conferences, incentives, conferences & exhibitions) business, which introduced in additional than 1.6 million abroad guests in 2019, earlier than the pandemic.

«The final yr or so, different international locations and cities and locations have began opening up and naturally now we have some great occasions which have been in Hong Kong for years,» Cheng mentioned.

«Anchor occasions [were] shifting out and so they apologize, ‘We’re going to different locations in Southeast Asia, Middle East,’ or some simply mainly postpone or defer.»

However, he mentioned the town is now «assured» and «wanting ahead to receiving guests» once more.

That could be seen by way of its «Hello Hong Kong» marketing campaign, which has a 2023 lineup of greater than 250 occasions and festivals — together with the Hong Kong Marathon, the Clockenflap music competition and Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.

There are additionally greater than 100 worldwide MICE occasions deliberate for the yr, mentioned the town’s tourism board.

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