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In a bid to get tourists back to Hong Kong, the city state’s tourism board is planning to give away half a million airline tickets.

The 500,000 tickets are worth $254.8 million and will be handed out once the city state’s remaining Covid restrictions are lifted.

Dane Cheng, Hong Kong Tourism Board’s executive director said the campaign is reliant on the government lifting the restrictions.

“Once the government announces it will remove all Covid-19 restrictions for inboud travellers, we’ll roll out the advertising campaigns for the free air tickets.”

Hong Kong’s government introduced very strict restrictions when the pandemic hit. This included that all inbound travellers had to quarantine in a hotel for two weeks.

Airlines became so desperate for pilots to fly there that they offered cash bonuses.

The BBC reports that just over 183,600 people visited Hong Kong between January and August 2022, according to the latest figures published by the tourism board. While that’s a significant uptick on last year, it’s well below pre-pandemic figures of 56 million in 2019.

It’s not clear which airlines will receive the tickets and what travellers have to do to qualify for them, but the tourism board has said that the tickets will be available in 2023.

Image credit: Jing Daily

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