Hong Kong’s recent global promotion campaign will “kick off” the reopening of town to international travellers, the Hong Kong Tourism Board reported on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Friday.
As a part of the “Hello Hong Kong” campaign launched on Thursday, 500,000 airline tickets to be given away over the subsequent six months starting in March.
Tickets shall be issued through three Hong Kong carriers – Cathay Pacific, HK Express and Hong Kong Airlines.
Free tickets are a part of it HKD 2 billion (US$255 million) aid package. offered by the federal government to airlines in 2020, at the peak of the pandemic.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board will even invest at the least HKD 100 million to advertise the initial phase of the campaign. on the launch ceremony.
But Hong Kong still faces a “dilemma” – its infrastructure has some catching as much as do to accommodate the surge in visitors, said Dane Cheng, executive director of the tourism board.
“I believe we saw this dilemma in other markets and destinations once they began reopening around last yr. It’s hard to catch up…especially with airlines, airports and even hotels,” he told CNBC.
“[But] you desire to start and … send a transparent message to the world that Hong Kong, then the mainland – finally reopened.”
How tickets are allocated
Ticket distribution shall be phased, starting with Southeast Asian markets, followed by mainland China and North Asia, and at last the remainder of the world.
Some 80,000 tickets have also been reserved for Hong Kong residents, which the authorities intend to distribute in the summertime.
Cheng said the variety of tickets for every region was based on “traffic share” and pre-pandemic visitor numbers.
Fred Lam, director general of the Hong Kong Airport Authority, also expects free tickets to have a multiplier effect concerning the number of holiday makers.
“We hope those that received tickets will bring 2-3 more family and friends with them [to Hong Kong]in accordance with CNBC’s translations of Lam’s comments on the campaign launch ceremony.
“Although we only issue 500,000 air tickets, we imagine this can attract greater than 1.5 million tourists,” added Lam. This is roughly 10% of the overall number of holiday makers expected in the course of the campaign period.
As for a way visitors can get these free tickets, it’s going to depend upon “local market regulations and customs,” he said.
“[That] it could involve large-scale draws, giving them away on a first-come, first-served basis, offering free buy-for-get-one tickets, or participating in games,” Lam said.
“Very Clearly Reopened”
China announced on Friday cross-border travel with Hong Kong and Macau will fully resume from February 6, waiving mandatory pre-departure tests and lifting arrival limits, in accordance with a Reuters report.
“I believe it’s totally clear that the Hong Kong government, in addition to our mainland central government, has been very careful and [made] it’s clear that the whole lot desires to resume in an orderly and progressive way,” Cheng said.
He added that before the pandemic, Hong Kong had “greater than 25 million overnight visitors” every year, and town would take a while to “regain” those numbers.
The return of MICE events in Hong Kong
Cheng said the last two to a few years have been “difficult” for Hong Kong’s MICE industry (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), which has brought over 1.6 million foreign visitors in 2019, before the pandemic.
“About last yr other countries, cities and destinations began opening up and in fact we’ve some great events which were occurring in Hong Kong for years,” said Cheng.
“Anchor Events [were] they move out and make an apology, ‘We’re going to other places in Southeast Asia, the Middle East,’ and a few people just put it off or put it off.”
However, he said town was now “confident” and was “looking forward to welcoming visitors again.”
This will be seen within the “Hello Hong Kong” campaign, which covers 2023 over 250 events and festivals – including Hong Kong Marathon, Clockenflap music festival and Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.
More than 100 international MICE events are also planned for the yr, town’s tourist board said.