Here’s Why Hong Kong Is Giving Away 500,000 Free Flight Tickets


Key Takeaways

  • Hong Kong government initiated a promotional campaign, offering 500,000 free round-trip airline tickets over six months to showcase recent developments and attractions.
  • Allocation begins March 1 for Southeast Asia, April 1 for mainland China, and May 1 for Northeast Asia and the rest of the world. Allocation methods include lucky draws and a first-come-first-serve basis.
  • Hong Kong residents receive an extra 80,000 tickets for outbound international travel this summer.
  • Cathay Pacific, HK Express, and Hong Kong Airlines will distribute tickets, part of a $255 million relief package provided to airlines during the pandemic.

Hong Kong–The Hong Kong government launched a global promotional campaign called “Hello Hong Kong” on February 2 and kickstarted it by announcing a giveaway of 500,000 free round-trip airline tickets to and from the city over the next six months.

The “Hello Hong Kong” initiative, aimed at showcasing recent developments and attractions to the global community, was inaugurated by the Chief Executive of Hong Kong, John Lee Ka-Chiu, at a formal ceremony in Wan Chai

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“Hello Hong Kong” promotional video

Those interested in participating in the giveaway contest should visit the official page (on the dates mentioned below) and enter their names to participate in the lottery. 

The distribution of tickets will occur in three phases:

  • March 1 onwards to people across Southeast Asia, 
  • April 1 onwards to people living in mainland China and from 
  • May 1 onwards to people living in Northeast Asia and the rest of the world.

Ticket Allocation and Airlines Involved

The method of allocation of tickets may include large-scale lucky draws, giving it out on a first-come-first-serve basis, offering buy-on-get-one free tickets, or through game participation.

In an interview, Dane Cheng, Executive Director of the Tourism Board, revealed that each region had a quota of tickets determined by “traffic shares” and according to the proportion of international visitors before the pandemic. 

Apart from the 500,000 tickets, an additional 80,000 free tickets will be available for Hong Kong residents for outbound international travel this summer.

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The tickets will be distributed through three of Hong Kong’s leading airline companies — Cathay Pacific, HK Express, and Hong Kong Airlines. 

According to a report, the free tickets are part of the $255 million relief package the government offered airlines in 2020 when the pandemic was at its worst.

The ‘Hello Hong Kong’ campaign’s objective is to attract travelers to the once-financial capital of Asia (presently Singapore). As per data, before the pandemic, Hong Kong had an average of 60 million visitors annually, which fell to 90,000 in 2021, crushing the local economy and tourism sector.

Hong Kong’s Shifting Policies and Travel Requirements

Hong Kong opened its borders with the rest of China (one of the last countries to do so) after abandoning its zero-COVID policy in December last year. 

Government regulations still require masking in public places and a negative test result (pre-departure) for international travelers (though some sources reveal that compulsory PCR testing might be scrapped soon).

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What We Think

The “Hello Hong Kong” campaign’s rollout of free tickets as a promotional strategy to revitalize tourism and the economy seems bold and attention-grabbing. However, while the initiative aims to attract global travelers, the allocation methods could be a gamble.

Relying on quotas and various distribution methods might result in unequal accessibility and potential disappointment for eager participants.

Additionally, the campaign’s success hinges on ongoing pandemic-related regulations. The initiative’s ambition to reinvigorate Hong Kong’s tourism industry amid shifting global travel norms is admirable, but its efficacy might depend on adaptability to evolving travel conditions and the actual impact on tourism revival.


Aqil K
Aqil K
Aqil writes about travel, tourism, and covers the many aspects of the digital nomad lifestyle.


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