Hong Kong wants visitors to return and is planning a giveaway of 500,000 free airline tickets this spring in an effort to jumpstart tourism.

Hong Kong Will Distribute 500,000 Free Airline Tickets

In 2019, 56 million people visited Hong Kong. In 2021, that number was only 91,000. In 2022, that number was 650,000. Now Hong Kong wants the world to know that its doors are open.

John Lee, the new Chief Executive of Hong Kong, announced a new campaign on Thursday that he hopes will draw visitors back to the special administrative region of China after years of harsh COVID-19 restrictions. In a speech delivered in three languages (English, Mandarin, and Cantonese), Lee hinted that Hong Kong was preparing “probably the world’s biggest welcome ever.”

Government crackdowns, protests, and extended lockdown have led to a contraction of Hong Kong’s economy for three of the last four years. Now, Hong Kong has fully reopened, jettisoned onerous quarantine requirements, and claims its is ready to welcome visitors from around the world.

To attract these visitors, up to 500,000 tickets will be given away on Cathay Pacific, HK Express, and Hong Kong Airlines. The Airport Authority purchased these tickets as part of a bailout package for the airline industry in 2020.

Now it plans to give them away in four different ways, according to Fred Lam, who leads the airport authority. Those include:

  • lottery system
  • first-come, first-serve
  • two-for-one purchases
  • games

Per the fine print, tickets will be in economy class and passengers would be responsible for applicable taxes, fees, and surcharges.

The promotion will be rolled out in phases:

The giveaway will start in Southeast Asia markets on 1 March 2023, followed by the Mainland, Northeast Asia and other markets, continuing for about six months. The airlines’ marketing and promotion will begin in late February.

Citizens will also receive tickets to fly, with Lam promising 80,000 tickets for residents and another 80,000 tickets for residents of the Greater Bay Area.

Finally, Hong Kong will be inviting “influencers” and other key figures to the SAR. Lee explained:

“We are inviting prominent guests, from business heavyweights and political dignitaries, to media chiefs and influencers, to come to Hong Kong and see for themselves the welcoming atmosphere, promising opportunities, and many exciting developments and new attractions here.”

As for the free tickets, you can monitor this official airport site for developments and updates on the giveaway campaign.


Hong Kong wants visitors back and will be giving away 500,000 tickets in order to woo travelers back. The giveaway will begin next month.

We’ll update this post once more details become available concerning the giveaway.

Are you ready to return to Hong Kong?

images: Hong Kong Airport Authority

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