Hong Kong’s unprecedented initiative to boost tourism and business: 500,000 free plane tickets
The authorities of Hong Kong today announced a grand campaign worth HK$2 billion (about US$254 million) to boost tourism, business and investmentwhich will include the gift of 500,000 plane tickets to visitors and residents of the city.
Hong Kong Finance Secretary Paul Chanrevealed this Thursday that he hopes that the campaign, baptized “Hello Hong Kong”managed to attract more than 200 business, cultural and tourist events.
The aim of the campaign, which was presented with dancers and neon lights in the main convention center of the city, is that Hong Kong resume activity after three years of crisis and health restrictions due to the pandemic covid.
In addition to half a million free plane tickets, the administration will offer tourists coupons to spend at more than 100 restaurants, hotels and other tourist attractions.
Officials did not specify how to qualify for the tickets, though they noted that the airlines involved will soon make announcements about when and how they will be distributed.
The ceremony was attended by several officials from the city’s tourism, commerce and aviation departments, such as the general director of the Airport Authority, Fred Lamwho pointed out that the campaign will begin on March 1st and will last for six months.
According to government estimates, the free tickets will constitute about 10% of all arrivals to the semi-autonomous city during that half year.
“Hong Kong is connected to mainland China and internationally, and there will be no lockdowns, no quarantines, and no restrictions on enjoying the bustle of the city,” said the Hong Kong leader, John Leeduring the presentation.
In his speech before a massive audience, Chan also declared that the Government’s objective for this year is “free Hong Kong from the pandemicfocus on economic development and promote the city both globally and in mainland China.”
The Hong Kong economy contracted last year 3.5%a percentage worse than expected and, according to the local press, a 4.2% year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2022.
However, experts quoted by the newspaper South China Morning Post anticipate a rise of more than one 3% YoY for 2023 as the city returns to business as usual following the lifting of nearly all COVID-related restrictions and improved consumer confidence.
To attract foreign investors, the Hong Kong chief executive will lead a delegation to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirateswhere he will present “the strategic advantages and business opportunities” of the financial center to political and business leaders from the Middle East.
(With information from EFE)