The Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Airport Authority will give 500,000 airline tickets to travellers to encourage them to visit the city. This giveaway will begin once the city lifts all travel-related Covid-19 restrictions. The tickets will include seats on Cathay Pacific, HK Express and Hong Kong Airlines flights.

The move comes after the authorities scrapped the mandatory quarantine hotel requirement for overseas arrivals, which had been in place since December 2020. Currently, all international travellers have to undergo an on-arrival PCR test followed by three days of medical surveillance if they test negative for Covid-19.

During this three-day period, they are issued an amber health code, which prohibits them from entering crowded public places such as restaurants, pubs and theme parks. They must also undergo PCR tests on Days 2, 4 and 6 after they enter the city, as well as rapid antigen tests every day for the first week after their arrival in the SAR.

Despite this new measure, there have been no significant increases in inbound travel since it came into force on September 26. According to data from the Immigration Department, the figures for departures from the airport were higher on most days than those for arrivals since the hotel quarantine requirement ended.

September 26, 20224,5274,424
September 27, 20225,5496,123
September 28, 2022 5,1435,640
September 29, 2022 5,4646,032
September 30, 2022 6,1089,264
October 1, 20225,2988,684
October 2, 2022 7,1947,721
October 3, 2022 6,6965,250
October 4, 2022 7,6587,072
October 5, 2022 6,0825,670
Passenger traffic at Hong Kong International Airport from September 26, 2022 till October 5, 2022 (Source: Immigration Department)

The most arrivals were recorded on October 4 (7,658), which is in stark contrast to February 2020, before Hong Kong imposed restrictions on the entry of overseas travellers. In fact, more passengers arrived on February 28, 2020 (11,341), which is when the least number of travellers landed at the airport that month.

While the government has not specifically said when it will remove its Covid restrictions, it recently extended pandemic regulations — which include quarantine and compulsory testing requirements — until March 31, 2023.

Header image credits: manjik via Canva

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From the Middle East to the Far East and a couple of places in between, Anjali has lived in no fewer than seven cities in Asia, and has travelled extensively in the region. She worked as a lifestyle journalist in India before coming to Hong Kong, where her favourite thing to do is island-hopping with her daughter. You can check out her musings on motherhood, courtesy her Instagram profile.

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