Hong Kong’s new world promotional marketing campaign will “kickstart” the town’s reopening to worldwide vacationers, the Hong Kong Tourism Board advised CNBC’s “Squawk Field Asia” on Friday.
As a part of the “Howdy Hong Kong” marketing campaign, which was launched on Thursday, 500,000 air tickets will be given away over the subsequent six months, beginning in March.
The tickets can be given out by way of three Hong Kong’s carriers — Cathay Pacific, HK Categorical and Hong Kong Airways.
The free tickets are a part of the HK$2 billion ($255 milion) relief package that the federal government supplied to airways in 2020, in the course of the top of the pandemic.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board can be investing a minimal of HK$100 million within the promotion of the marketing campaign’s preliminary section, it stated at the launch ceremony.
However Hong Kong nonetheless faces a “dilemma” — its infrastructure has some catching as much as do to accommodate the rise in guests, stated Dane Cheng, the tourism board’s government director.
“I believe this dilemma, now we have truly been seeing from different markets and locations after they began to reopen within the final yr or so. It is troublesome to catch up … significantly for the airways, the airports and even motels,” he advised CNBC.
“[But] you wish to kickstart and … inform the world in a transparent message that Hong Kong after which mainland — now we have lastly reopened.”
How the tickets are allotted
The ticket giveaway can be phased: It’s going to begin with Southeast Asian markets, adopted by mainland China and North Asia, and lastly, different elements of the world.
Some 80,000 tickets have additionally been reserved for Hong Kong residents which authorities goal to provide out in the summertime.
The variety of tickets for every area was primarily based on “visitors shares” and customer numbers from earlier than the pandemic, stated Cheng.
Fred Lam, the CEO of Hong Kong’s airport authority, additionally expects the free tickets to have multiplying results on the variety of guests.
“We hope those that acquired the tickets will deliver 2-3 extra family and friends with them [to Hong Kong],” in accordance with CNBC’s translations of Lam’s feedback on the marketing campaign launch ceremony.
“Though we’re solely giving out 500,000 air tickets, we imagine it can deliver in additional than 1.5 million incoming vacationers,” Lam added. That is about 10% of the entire variety of guests anticipated in the course of the marketing campaign interval.
As for the way guests can get their palms on these free tickets, it can rely upon “native market rules and customs,” he stated.
“[That] might embody large-scale fortunate attracts, giving it out by way of a first-come-first serve foundation, providing buy-on-get-one free tickets, or by way of sport participations,” Lam stated.
‘Very clearly reopened’
On Friday, China stated cross-border travel with Hong Kong and Macao would absolutely resume from Feb. 6, scrapping obligatory pre-departure checks and lifting arrival quotas, according to a Reuters report.
“I believe it is very clear that the Hong Kong authorities and likewise our mainland central authorities has been very prudent and so they [made] it very clear that all the pieces needs to be resumed in an orderly and progressive method,” stated Cheng.
He added that earlier than the pandemic, Hong Kong had “over 25 million in a single day guests” every year, and it’ll take the town time to “get again” these numbers.
Return of MICE occasions in Hong Kong
Cheng stated the previous two to 3 years had been “troublesome” for Hong Kong’s MICE (conferences, incentives, conferences & exhibitions) business, which introduced in more than 1.6 million overseas visitors in 2019, earlier than the pandemic.
“The final yr or so, different nations and cities and locations have began opening up and naturally now we have some great occasions which were in Hong Kong for years,” stated Cheng.
“Anchor occasions [were] transferring out and so they express regret, ‘We will different locations in Southeast Asia, Center East,’ or some simply mainly postpone or defer.”
Nonetheless, he stated the town is now “assured” and “wanting ahead to receiving guests” once more.
That may be seen by way of its “Howdy Hong Kong” marketing campaign, which has a 2023 lineup of more than 250 events and festivals — together with the Hong Kong Marathon, the Clockenflap music pageant and Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.
There are additionally greater than 100 worldwide MICE occasions deliberate for the yr, stated the town’s tourism board.