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Hello Hong Kong: how do I get free airline tickets and what else is on offer?

Hong Kong has launched an ambitious global promotional drive to entice visitors back to the city after three years of isolation under tough pandemic curbs, featuring 700,000 free air tickets, spending vouchers and special events.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu unveiled details of his government’s “Hello Hong Kong” campaign on Thursday, highlighting 250 events.

It was estimated the first phase of the campaign would cost about HK$100 million (US$12.8 million), according to the Tourism Board.

The Post takes a look at how visitors and residents can get the goodies.

1. How and when can I get airline tickets? Authorities expect to give 700,000 free airline tickets to travellers from around the world between March 1 and September.

The city’s three carriers – Cathay Pacific Airways, the group’s budget carrier HK Express and Hong Kong Airlines – will distribute 65 per cent of them. The remainder will be reserved for related sectors to support inbound tourism and promote the city.

About half a million tickets will be reserved for overseas travellers, with about three-quarters earmarked for Asian visitors.

The promotion will be carried out in phases, with the first targeting Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia from March 1. The second will target mainland China from April, then northeast Asia, including Korea and Japan, and other markets in May.

Airlines would give out the tickets through promotions such as lucky draws, buy-one-get-one-free deals and through games or competitions, Airport Authority CEO Fred Lam Tin-fuk said.

The authority said “all related surcharges, fees and taxes would be borne by the winners of the tickets” and all the tickets would be economy class.

The three airlines have not yet released detailed plans. But the Cathay Pacific website said it would start distributing round-trip tickets to Hong Kong from March 1. People can sign up for the Cathay membership programme to receive a reminder to join the “World of Winners” ticket giveaway campaign.

Hong Kong Airlines will release details of its plan for the tickets on March 1, according to its website. The free round-trip tickets will include checked baggage.

Another 80,000 tickets will be given to Hong Kong residents and the same number to visitors from the Greater Bay Area from July onwards.

2. How do I get the spending vouchers and who is eligible?

The Hong Kong Tourism Board started giving away at least 1 million spending vouchers worth HK$100 each under the “Hong Kong Goodies” campaign to welcome back visitors on Thursday. The promotion is on a first-come, first-served basis and will run until December 31.

The offer is for visitors staying in Hong Kong for 90 days or less.

Arrivals can pick up the vouchers from the four Tourism Board Visitor Centres. They are at the arrivals level at Hong Kong International Airport, Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Concourse, Hong Kong West Kowloon Station Arrival Concourse and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge Hong Kong Port Passenger Clearance Building.


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