The corona pandemic has hit many states, regions and cities worldwide hard. Tourism also collapsed massively in the Asian metropolis of Hong Kong.
To date, there is no recovery in sight – also because airlines have to adjust their flight schedules for political reasons. Now tourists are to be lured back into the special administrative zone with an expensive campaign.
Hong Kong plans to give away 500,000 airline tickets worth HK$2 billion to boost tourism. This is reported, among other things, by the “BBC”. Dane Cheng, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said the promotion of the free tickets would start soon. The tickets are to be distributed by the city’s airport authority next year. Interestingly, not only inbound but also outbound passengers should benefit from the campaign.
The BBC quotes Prudence Lai of market research firm Euromonitor International, who believes offering free airline tickets could help restore Hong Kong’s reputation as a popular travel destination. That also seems to be really necessary, because the current number of visitors is well below the pre-Corona level. While only 184,000 visitors came to Hong Kong until August 2022, in 2019 there were still 56 million people in total
Problems with Hong Kong
There are many reasons for the burglary. For one thing, until recently, Hong Kong had some of the strictest corona regulations in the world, which, as the “Tagesschau” writes, were due to pressure from the communist central government in Beijing. In Hong Kong, for example, there were sometimes weeks of hotel quarantine during the pandemic. The regulation was only relaxed a few weeks ago. However, the borders to mainland China are still mostly closed. This is problematic for Hong Kong’s tourism in that mainland Chinese tourists account for more than half of Hong Kong’s arrivals and travel revenue.
But there are also problems internationally. For example, the airline Virgin Atlantic had announced that it would no longer fly between Hong Kong and London Heathrow after 30 years of flight operations. The reason is “significant operational difficulties due to the ongoing closure of Russian airspace”. It is therefore not possible to resume flights from March 2023 as planned. Virgin Atlantic is not the only airline to have suspended flights in Ukraine after Russia invaded or has since chosen longer routes to avoid overflying the area.