Attention, travelers! Hong Kong is giving away 500,000 airline tickets to global tourists and residents.
The Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK) told CNN that they have purchased the air passes, which were worth around $254.8 million, as part of the region's efforts to boost the tourism industry. Before the pandemic, the country saw around 56 million visitors per year.
"Back in 2020, [AAHK] purchased around 500,000 air tickets in advance from the territory's home-based airlines as part of a relief package to support the aviation industry," a spokesperson said.
"The purchase serves the purpose of injecting liquidity into the airlines upfront, while the tickets will be given away to global visitors and Hong Kong residents in the market recovery campaign."
Dane Cheng, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board added that airport authorities will finalize the arrangements with airline companies.
"Once the government announces it will remove all COVID-19 restrictions for inbound travelers, we'll roll out the advertising campaigns for the free air tickets," he said.
The free tickets will be distributed in 2023 by the city's airport authority.
For two years, Hong Kong had strict protocols surrounding COVID-19, following China's policies. On September 26, it announced that incoming travelers no longer had to go into hotel quarantine or provide a negative Covid test to board flights to Hong Kong.
Incoming tourists must still submit a pre-flight vaccination certificate, a negative PCR/rapid antigen test, and must monitor themselves at home or at a hotel for three days. Throughout the monitoring period, they will not be allowed to eat at restaurants or visit bars.