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Hong Kong To Give Away 500,000 Plane Tickets to Lure Tourists

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A 12 months later, the central government imposed a sweeping national security law that gave authorities wide latitude to criminalize speech and stifle dissent in a territory once known for its independent courts and freewheeling legislature and newspapers. Pro-democracy lawmakers were arrested in droves, and outstanding media outlets were forced to shut. (On Monday, several defendants will stand trial in the most important case yet involving the safety law.)

Then, for many of the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government sealed the territory’s borders and imposed a few of the world’s harshest restrictions on day by day life.

Beaches were closed for weeks on end. Playground equipment was sealed off with police tape and chain-link fencing. Residential buildings were locked down due to just a few positive cases. And, for an extended while, almost everyone arriving in town, including residents, faced a compulsory three-week hotel quarantine.

The announcements on Thursday were the federal government’s latest effort to rebuild Hong Kong’s cratered tourism industry. Town counted about 600,000 visitor arrivals last 12 months, compared with greater than 65 million in 2018, the 12 months before the protests began.

In 2020, Hong Kong paid a public relations firm about $6 million to assist it “reconnect with the world and relaunch as soon as possible,” as a senior official put it last 12 months.

The federal government said this week that its six-month plane ticket giveaway, financed by a pandemic-era relief package, will initially goal travelers from Southeast Asia and later those from the Chinese mainland and other locales. Nearly all of the tickets will probably be offered through airlines based out of Hong Kong, including Cathay Pacific, while others will probably be given away through tourism-related businesses.

Dino Chen, 26, who works in public relations in Hong Kong, said that while she thought the campaign could draw visitors within the short term, the “unclear” atmosphere in town’s political and cultural spheres helped make the general outlook for tourism uncertain. (One example: Before Hong Kong’s long-awaited M+ contemporary art museum opened in 2021, pro-Beijing figures criticized pieces in its collection as an insult to China and called for them to be banned.)

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