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Travel is expensive, but with the world opening back up after the pandemic, it’s all anyone wants to do. Hong Kong is hoping you’ll choose them for your next adventure. In fact, they’re preparing to give away 500,000 free plane tickets to their region to sweeten the idea.
Yes, we said 500,000.
Hong Kong actually announced the move more than two years ago in 2020. The city bought the tickets from airlines based there in an effort to help them financially during the toughest moments of the pandemic. Now with their mandatory hotel quarantine requirement lifted, Hong Kong wants to welcome tourism back and in a big way.
Keep reading to find out more about what we know regarding this offer. And for all of the latest news on deals, sales, and freebies, download the KCL app.
Why is Hong Kong giving away free plane tickets?
While it sounds like an incredibly generous offer (and it is), Hong Kong wants to reestablish itself as a vacation destination. Tourism is a huge moneymaker for places like Hong Kong, benefitting local businesses, hotels, attractions, and the like.
By giving away 500,000 free plane tickets, it ensures that Hong Kong will welcome that many visitors. Lodging and meals aren’t provided, just the flights, so those who score the tickets will still have to spend money on those items. This in turn helps Hong Kong’s local economy. It feels like a win-win.
Related: 17 Incredible Family Travel Hacks
Hong Kong hasn’t given away the free plane tickets yet.
Don’t worry; this isn’t the type of promotion being sprung on you only to learn that you needed to register for the giveaway yesterday. The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) has said that the free plane tickets will be distributed to both international visitors and residents of China. However, they haven’t yet shared how these will be dispersed.
The bottom line: stay tuned. One would assume the AAHK would like to get this program rolling sooner rather than later.
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Are there still travel restrictions in Hong Kong?
Yes, there are still restrictions in place in regards to the overall public health of the region and its visitors. However, instead of the previous 21-day hotel quarantine (which was paid for at the traveler’s expense), the protocols are decidedly easier.
Global travelers will have to submit a vaccination certificate before their flight. In addition, a negative PCR test and rapid antigen test are required before entering Hong Kong.
The rules don’t end there. After visitors have cleared these protocols, they still have to abide by a 3-day self-monitoring period. During this time, you cannot eat in restaurants or enter bars.
If you’re going to try for these free plane tickets, it’s also important to note visitors to Hong Kong will need to complete PCR tests on days 2, 4 and 6 after arrival. On top of that, you’ll need to take a rapid antigen test every day for the first seven days you’re in Hong Kong.
That sounds like a lot, but still, free plane tickets are a huge savings. A cursory search on Expedia of flights from New York’s JFK airport to Hong Kong’s HKG cost upwards of $1,300.
At least one other international spot has financial incentives to visit.
So it might not be free plane tickets, but Italy’s Friuli Venezia Giulia region wants you to visit so badly, they’ll reimburse parts of your travel.
If you travel by train from other spots in Italy, PromoTurismoFVG (that’s their tourism board) will refund your money on train fares to Trieste, Udine, Grado, and Lignano Sabbiadore. You just have to travel by train to those spots from other locations within Italy. The other caveat is you must stay in Friuli Venezia Giulia for two nights. That’s okay, though, because there’s plenty to do. And even if there weren’t attractions, there’s great Italian food and wine.
This promotion runs until May 31, 2023, so hop to it. Winter in Italy? Spring in Italy? Either way, we’ll take it.