Hong Kong officials want everyone around the world to know that the city is ready to welcome visitors “with open arms and open doors.”
To revive its tourism industry and attract visitors, the Hong Kong government launched a tourism campaign called “Hello Hong Kong.” Perhaps the best part for prospective tourists is that 500,000 free airline tickets will be given away as part of the campaign.
“This, ladies and gentlemen, is probably the world’s biggest welcome ever,” John Lee, Hong Kong’s chief executive, said when launching the campaign, according to the Associated Press.
“Hong Kong is now seamlessly connected to the mainland of China and the whole international world, and there will be no isolation, no quarantine,” Lee continued. “This is the perfect time for tourists, business travelers, and investors from near and far to come and say, ‘Hello, Hong Kong.’”
The tickets, which cost the city of Hong Kong about $255 million, will be given away in what’s known as the “World of Winners” Tickets Giveaway Campaign, sponsored by Airport Authority Hong Kong, beginning March 1, 2023. A majority of the 500,000 tickets will be given away in phases by three Hong Kong-based airlines: Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong Express, and Hong Kong Airlines, according to the Airport Authority Hong Kong.
“We need to make it clear that we are now totally, fully, unconditionally reopening to travelers,” Dane Cheng, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said at a press conference. “The whole idea is that we want to reconnect and greet the world.”
How The Giveaway Will Work
The “Hello Hong Kong” campaign is intended to draw visitors from around the world with new attractions such as the Hong Kong Palace Museum and M+ museum at the West Kowloon Cultural District, the Water World Ocean Park, and the enhanced waterfront promenades overlooking Victoria Harbor.
It also includes numerous special offers, cash vouchers, and other incentives aside from the 500,000 free tickets.
That ticket giveaway will be conducted in phases, beginning March 1, 2023. They will be distributed in three waves, first to people across Southeast Asia, then people in mainland China, and finally to people in the rest of the world.
You can find all of the details and even enter the lottery for free tickets at the “World of Winners” Tickets Giveaway Campaign webpage.
“We hope those who secure the air tickets can bring two or three more relatives and friends to Hong Kong,” said Fred Lam, CEO of the Airport Authority, according to the Associated Press. “Although we are just giving away 500,000 air tickets, we believe this can help bring Hong Kong over 1.5 million visitors.”
Jack So, chairman of the Airport Authority Hong Kong, said in a statement that “the campaign will generate a multiplier effect on boosting air traffic and enormous publicity for Hong Kong.”
An Anticipated Economic Boost
Hong Kong was a significant attraction for tourists, at least before the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, in 2018, a record-high 65.1 million people visited Hong Kong, according to the Washington Post.
Then, however, when Hong Kong closed its borders to foreign visitors and imposed strict quarantine rules in 2020 due to the pandemic, the number of visitors dropped to 3.5 million. In 2021, as Hong Kong imposed more restrictions, the number of visitors fell 97 percent to less than 100,000, the Washington Post continues.
Hong Kong has since dropped measures such as its mandatory hotel quarantine rule and PCR tests for incoming travelers. Nonetheless, while more than 600,000 people traveled to the city in 2022, that number is still less than one-tenth of its 2018 visitation tally.
Be sure to also read all of our Hong Kong content, including How Traveling To Hong Kong Solo Changed My Life, as well as our China content, including These Breathtaking Rainbow Colored Mountains Are A Fascinating Geological Wonder.