The Travel Industry Council (TIC) on Monday said it expects outbound travel to surge by as much as 50 percent for the next few months as HongKongers take advantage of newly-relaxed Covid restrictions.
However, the council’s executive director Fanny Yeung warned that growth will be limited by the number of outbound flights, while inbound tourism likely won’t grow by much.
“The flight capacity is still a limitation… and maybe the flight capacity is not able to support the demand,” Yeung told RTHK’s Hong Kong Today programme.
She said the TIC has been in touch with local airlines which are struggling to replace pilots who have left, warning that it’ll take some time before new batches of recruits are fully trained.
Yeung added that while outbound travel may grow by between 40 to 50 percent by the end of the year in comparison to the past few months, the number of trips will still be fairly modest and the trade is still “in a difficult situation” for now.
As for inbound travellers, Yeung said she does not anticipate many tourists to come to Hong Kong despite the scrapping of the city’s mandatory hotel quarantine for incoming air passengers, saying only people on important business trips or want to see friends or family are likely to visit.
“We don’t expect a significant growth in the leisure sector, because now visitors have a choice, and around the world there are a lot of cities and countries, they’ve opened up totally, so I just don’t think they would select Hong Kong as a destination if they’re not allowed to get into restaurants, bars, theme parks, et cetera.”
The government’s new ‘0+3’ entry scheme took effect on Monday, with travellers asked to monitor their own health for three days without having to stay in a designated quarantine hotel.
During these three days, travellers are given an 'amber’ health code, which prohibits them from entering venues such as bars and restaurants, or any other venues covered by the vaccine pass.