Hong Kong Reportedly Planning to Give 500K Plane Tickets for Free to Attract Tourists Back

What a week it has been for travel enthusiasts – first, Taiwan’s confirmation of quarantine-free travel, followed closely by South Korea‘s announcement to open borders completely.

Get ready to pack your luggages – another country from the average Singaporean’s list of classic (ahem, basic) destinations comes bearing more good news.

Hong Kong is reportedly giving away 500,000 plane tickets for free.

If free lunch isn’t a thing, at least free plane tickets are

You read that right, so don’t buy your plane tickets just yet.

The tickets will purportedly be given out once the Hong Kong government removes all remaining restrictions on inbound arrivals, in order to attract all you dim sum lovers and Mong Kok shoppers back to the vibrant city.

It is reported that unless the COVID-19 situation significantly worsens, Chief Executive John Lee might announce Hong Kong’s plan to return to normalcy in his October policy address.

But wait, where did these tickets even come from in the first place? Why does the government, of all people, need so many plane tickets?

Remember back in 2020, when COVID-19 had just set in and we had to bid farewell to bubble tea during the circuit breaker?

Oh, and also when aviation sectors worldwide were crippled by the restrictions on air travel…

These 500,000 tickets were purchased by the Hong Kong government back in 2020 to inject cash directly into the city’s airlines.

By giving away these 500,000 tickets now, the Hong Kong government aims to fill up the streets again and boost tourism in Hong Kong.

However, it is estimated that even after the removal of its remaining restrictions, it will still take one to two quarters before tourists finally return to Hong Kong.

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But why are there suddenly expectations for Hong Kong to remove its remaining restrictions on inbound travellers?

Just last Friday (23 Sept), Hong Kong announced that it will be scrapping its COVID-19 hotel quarantine policy for all inbound arrivals.

This move comes after more than 2.5 years since the hotel quarantine policy was first implemented. Previously, inbound travellers had to be quarantined in hotels for three days upon arrival.

Now, Hong Kong authorities have come up with a new system dubbed “0+3“. All international arrivals will be able to head home or to stay at an accommodation of their choice, but will have to self-monitor for three days after entering the city.

During this three day period, inbound travellers are allowed to go to work or school but not allowed to enter bars or restaurants.

There’s optimism for the remaining restrictions to be removed, but I guess we can’t be all that sure yet.

That however, doesn’t mean to say that you can’t continue planning your year-end vacation.

While waiting for the Hong Kong government to relax all their remaining restrictions, why not watch this video to find out more about other potential destinations:

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Featured Image: Getty Images