Officials on Thursday unveiled their “Hello Hong Kong” promotional campaign aimed at luring visitors to the city, with hundreds of thousands of free plane tickets and a million vouchers for tourists to spend on their holidays here.
Cathay Pacific, HK Express and Hong Kong Airlines will start dishing out 500,000 free tickets next month through their overseas offices, via lucky draws, games, and “buy one, get one free” offers.
The tickets, bought earlier by the Airport Authority, will first go to people in Southeast Asia, before they are handed out in other parts of the world.
Fred Lam, the authority's chief executive officer, said each visitor with a free ticket is expected to bring two or three companions with them, meaning the giveaway could attract some 1.5 million travellers in total, accounting for some 10 percent of the arrivals expected in the coming half a year.
Eighty-thousand free plane tickets will be given to Hong Kong residents in the summer, although officials didn't say where people will be able to fly to. Another 80,000 will be reserved for people living in other parts of the Greater Bay Area.
“This is all part of the idea of 'Hello Hong Kong' within Hong Kong, so we also feel that perhaps this is a way to let Hong Kong people share the same joy that this campaign would bring about,” Lam said.
Meanwhile, the Tourism Board said it is handing out at least one million vouchers, worth over HK$100 each, for tourists to use on drinks, food, shopping or transport.
At the launch ceremony, Chief Executive John Lee described the promotion as "probably the world's biggest welcome ever". He also said that business professionals, political dignitaries and media leaders will be among those invited to Hong Kong.
"They will take home their fond experience and memories of Hong Kong, and share them with their personal and business circles. Like a ripple, our compelling appeal as a metropolis that is wide open for business and leisure will continue to spread and reach different parts of the world," Lee said.