Hong Kong’s leader announced on Thursday that the city is prepared to receive visitors from around the world, offering free flights and promoting its positive image to revive its status as a thriving global hub after three years of being isolated due to the Covid pandemic.
The “Hello, Hong Kong” rebranding campaign by the government aims to showcase the positive aspects of the city and counter its negative image, which has been affected by both political repression and pandemic restrictions.
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The campaign seeks to promote Hong Kong as a business-friendly destination by sharing “good stories” about the southern Chinese city.
Chief Executive John Lee delivered a speech to prominent business and tourism figures, promising a hassle-free experience with “no isolation, no quarantine, and no restrictions.” He also unveiled a plan to offer 500,000 free air tickets to encourage visitors to experience Hong Kong’s bustling atmosphere.
The distribution of the free air tickets will commence in March, with an additional 80,000 tickets being made available to local residents during the summer.
Lee said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is likely the largest welcome in the world.”
It is pertinent to mention here that by strictly following Beijing’s zero-Covid policy of quarantines, closed borders, and mandatory mask-wearing, Hong Kong was able to maintain a low rate of virus transmission until the deadly Omicron outbreak occurred in early 2022.
However, this approach led to an economic recession and caused more than 2.5% of the population to leave the city.
On the other hand, Hong Kong welcomed just 600,000 visitors in 2022, less than one percent of 2018’s figure.