Hong Kong has launched a new global promotion campaign – ‘Hello, Hong Kong‘ – which provides for the distribution of 500,000 free airline tickets in an attempt to attract more visitors. City leader John Lee said it was “probably the biggest welcome in the world”.
Hello Hong Kong, 500,000 free airline tickets
Most of the tickets – worth HK$2 billion (£210 million) – will be offered free by three airlines (Cathay Pacific Airways, low-cost division HK Express and Hong Kong Airlines International Holdings) through various promotional activities, said Fred Lam, chief executive officer of the city’s Airport Authority. The offer will kick off in early March and run for six months during which there will be multiple ways to win tickets, such as from raffle to two-for-one purchases.
“We believe the initiative could help bring more than 1.5 million visitors to Hong Kong,” said Lam. The airlines will roll out the tickets in stages, with Southeast Asian markets benefiting first. An additional 80,000 airline tickets will be given away to Hong Kong residents this summer.
The government is trying to revive the economy and rebuild Hong Kong’s global image, which was penalized by the events of 2019, the imposition of strict security laws in 2020, and the three years of self-imposed isolation during the pandemic. Gross domestic product shrank by 3.5% last year, the third contraction in four years.
According to the tourism board, Hong Kong welcomed around 605,000 visitors in 2022 thanks to the progressive reduction of Covid restrictions, compared to 91,000 in 2021. The figure compares with almost 56 million in 2019, before the arrival of the pandemic.