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Hong Kong Touts Tourism Initiatives

Despite plummeting 2020 tourism numbers, the Special Administrative Region is gearing up for the restart of travel

The Hong Kong Tourism Board has announced the city suffered a 93.6 percent drop in tourism in 2020 from numbers in 2019. However the organization says they are “well prepared for the resumption of travel,” outlining several initiatives to gear up to welcome back visitors in 2021 and beyond.

“We will further strengthen our cooperation with the travel trade to jointly develop new products and itineraries and enhance Kong Kong’s service quality to ensure we are ready to welcome visitors back with warm hospitality when the pandemic situation is stabilized,” said Dr. YK Pang, chairman of HKTB.

The tourism board cited initiatives taken over 2020 in their preparations to being business travel and tourism ready in 2021 such as:

• More than 100 webinars have been organized by the HKTB since March 2020, and more than 15,000 trade representatives from the Mainland and overseas have participated.

• A webinar was held in April to maintain communication with global trade partners and analyze the pandemic’s impact on tourism. It was attended by 1,500 trade representatives from Hong Kong. In June, the • • • • HKTB held its first global online forum, titled “Beyond COVID-19: Global Tourism’s New Normal” in June at which internationally-respected industry leaders shared their insights. The forum attracted over 4,000 registrants, including tourism industry members, journalists and academics.

The HKTB launched its first online matching platform to connect companies interested in organizing MICE events in Hong Kong with operators, venue providers, attractions and hotels. The platform successfully matched over 500 Hong Kong businesses and Mainland enterprises, and set up more than 1,300 meetings.

• In October, the HKTB introduced a set of standardized hygiene protocols for tourism related sectors to help establish Hong Kong’s reputation as a safe and healthy destination for future travel, sponsoring application fees in full for its trade partners. By mid-January 2021, more than 1,500 outlets were certified under the program.

Currently, Hong Kong requires mandatory COVID-19 testing. All passengers arriving into Hong Kong will be required to undergo a medical test for COVID-19 prior to clearing immigration and baggage collection.

The test, which involves providing a combined nasal and throat swab sample, will be conducted by medical professionals at the Department of Health Temporary Specimen Collection Centre at Midfield Concourse. Passengers will receive directions and assistance after disembarking the aircraft. All passengers are then required to wait for their test results.

More information can be found at Cathay Pacific Airways’ Hong Kong arrivals page.

In October, Hong Kong and Singapore were set to launch a travel bubble between the two cities, the world’s first international air travel corridor. The COVID-19-negative flights were set to begin Nov. 22, but have been pushed out until sometime in 2021 with no new start date announced.

Before planning a trip to Hong Kong, check your own country’s regulations on flying to and returning home from Hong Kong. As COVID-19 pandemic regulations change, it is wise to take out travel insurance and to consult your own state department advisories, airline advisories and the advisories of the country or region you are planning on visiting.