Hong Kong Gives Away 500,000 Free Flight Tickets

Hong Kong is giving away 500,000 airline tickets in an effort to entice tourists to return to the region. In recent months, the city has eased COVID travel restrictions, including mandatory isolation upon arrival.

It is now hoping to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic on its tourism industry. Hong Kong’s plan also includes giving away 500,000 airline tickets worth more than €250 million.

Dane Cheng, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, told the BBC in October that the free tickets were initially purchased to assist airlines during the pandemic.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive John Lee launched the $2 billion (€1.8 billion) ‘Hello Hong Kong’ campaign on Wednesday (1 February), with the flight ticket giveaway beginning on March 1.

Before the pandemic, Hong Kong received 56 million visitors in 2019 – more than seven times its population. However, its strict COVID restrictions have kept visitors away for the past three years, wreaking havoc on the tourism sector and the economy. According to preliminary government data, the city’s GDP fell 3.5% last year compared to 2021.

How will the free ticket scheme in Hong Kong work?

The giveaway will begin on March 1 and will last about six months, with tickets distributed in stages.

According to Fred Lam Tin-fuk, CEO of the Airport Authority Hong Kong, the free tickets will be distributed by Hong Kong-based airlines Cathay Pacific, HK Express, and Hong Kong Airlines.

According to Time Out Hong Kong, tickets will be distributed gradually on the airlines’ overseas platforms, beginning with Southeast Asian countries and progressing to mainland China and Northeastern Asia.

In the summer, another 80,000 free air tickets will be distributed to Hong Kong residents, with another 80,000 distributed to those living in the Greater Bay Area.

Visitors can also take advantage of special offers, vouchers, and other incentives in the city.

One million vouchers worth more than HKD100 (€11.60) each will provide discounts on food, drinks, transportation, hotels, retail, and attractions. According to Time Out Hong Kong, they will be distributed at tourist inquiry counters located at four border checkpoints beginning at 5 p.m. on February 2.

Throughout 2023, the city will also host over 250 events and festivals, including the Hong Kong Marathon, Clockenflap music festival, Art Basel, and Hong Kong Rugby Sevens.

What are the Hong Kong entry requirements?

Throughout the pandemic, Hong Kong had some of the strictest travel regulations.

The city has largely aligned itself with mainland China’s ‘zero-COVID’ strategy and has relaxed entry rules months later than competitors such as Singapore, Japan, and Taiwan.

The mandatory quarantine upon arrival was abolished in September. Even after Hong Kong reopened its border with mainland China in January, tourism recovery was slow.

The rules have now been relaxed even further. Visitors who test negative for COVID no longer need to self-isolate upon arrival.

Inbound tourists are subjected to rapid antigen testing upon arrival and again on day five of their visit. If you test positive, you must self-isolate in your hotel or lodging for five days.

Proof of vaccination is also required for those over the age of 12, unless there are medical reasons why you cannot be vaccinated.

Hong Kong residents who are not fully vaccinated will be allowed to enter the city. Non-residents who are not fully vaccinated and have visited places other than mainland China, Macao, or Taiwan within the last seven days will be denied entry into Hong Kong.

A negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure is required for travel between Hong Kong and mainland China. You must make a quota booking on the HKSARG’s online booking system if you are traveling through land border control points. Air travel does not necessitate this.

Virgin Atlantic stops flights to Hong Kong after 30 years

Due to the closure of Russian airspace following Ukraine’s invasion, some airlines will not resume service to the city.

Virgin Atlantic announced in the fall that it would close its Hong Kong office after 30 years. Flights to the city were halted when the pandemic struck, but were scheduled to resume in the summer of 2023.

The airline decided to withdraw from the Asian travel hub entirely. Several factors influenced the decision, including the closure of Russian airspace, which added at least an hour to travel times.

Customers who booked flights to Hong Kong with Virgin Atlantic beginning in March 2023 have been offered a refund, a voucher, or the option to rebook on another route with the airline.







Source : euronews

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The Sunny Italian Island offers Free Extra Nights to Tourists

The island of Sicily in southern Italy is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, and now visitors can stay an extra night for free. The president of the region hopes that the initiative will boost quality tourism by encouraging visitors to stay longer.

The “See Sicily” initiative follows in the footsteps of other Italian cities such as La Spezia in extending free vacation stays to visitors.

How can you get a free night in Sicily?

Visitors who have booked a minimum three-night stay on the island are eligible for the free night.

The Visit Sicily website has information on how to register. There is also a comprehensive list of affiliated lodging facilities that participate in the scheme.

Discounted flights to Sicily

The initiative also provides visitors with airline ticket discounts and activity discounts. Tourists are entitled to a free excursion or guided tour of their choice as part of the free night package.

As an added bonus, visitors arriving in Sicily by plane or ferry will receive a 50% discount on their ticket. This applies to both domestic and international flights and ferries.

The maximum discount for domestic and European flights is €100 ($108), while the maximum discount for international flights is €200 ($217).

When is the offer valid?

To take advantage of the scheme, visitors must travel by September 30, 2023. During the peak season months of July and August, the incentive package is unavailable. Because the offer is limited and will most likely run out, those interested should book as soon as possible.





Source : forbes

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Thailand Tourism is Reviving as International Arrivals Increase

Thailand welcomed 11.15 million foreign visitors in 2022, exceeding the government’s target for the year and implying that the country’s tourism sector will continue to recover this year, according to the country’s tourism ministry.

This was still far short of the 40 million or so international arrivals that the country had prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019. However, this is a significant increase from the 428,000 visitors the country received in 2021, when access was complicated by a slew of pandemic-related travel restrictions.

According to ministry data, the top three source markets for the country in 2022 will be Malaysia, India, and Singapore.

This is obviously good news for Thailand, whose economy is the second largest in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), but which is also unusually reliant on tourism. While the country managed to contain COVID-19 with relative success in 2020, the shutdowns and collapse in international travel brought international tourism to a halt. This contributed to the country experiencing the second-worst recession of the ten ASEAN nations that year, with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) reporting that its economy contracted by 6.1 percent.

Thai tourism officials are now aiming for 25 million international visitors by 2023, a target that will be greatly aided by the resumption of outbound tourism from China following Beijing’s earlier this month decision to abandon “zero COVID” and its associated travel restrictions. Thailand received a record 11.5 million visitors in 2019, but China’s protracted flirtation with its wacky “zero COVID” policy has slowed Thailand’s expected recovery.

Indeed, the return of Chinese outbound tourism has been warmly received throughout the region. Reuters reported this week that Filipinos dressed in traditional attire “played bamboo marimbas and handed out necklaces and gifts” to the first Chinese visitors to return to the country since the pandemic. Indonesian authorities put on a similar show in Denpasar, Bali, where the first direct flight from China in three years landed to an honor guard of traditionally dressed Balinese hostesses and lion dances to commemorate the Lunar New Year.

Meanwhile, at Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Tourism, Arts, and Culture Minister Tiong King Sing personally greeted Chinese visitors arriving from Fuzhou with Lunar New Year souvenirs this weekend.

In 2019, the Philippines and Indonesia welcomed 1.7 million and 2 million Chinese visitors, respectively. However, as in Thailand, this fell dramatically last year, with only 39,627 visitors in the Philippines and around 100,000 in Indonesia. Malaysia experienced a similar decline, but has set an ambitious goal of attracting 5 million Chinese tourists this year, a 60% increase over the 3.1 million who visited in 2019.

In a related development, Singapore’s government announced this week that it is on track to fully recover its tourism sector by 2024. According to tourism officials, the city-state received 6.3 million visitors last year, down from 19.1 million in 2019, but slightly more than the government’s forecast of 4-6 million.

Singapore, like its neighbors, will benefit from the return of Chinese outbound travel. In 2019, the country welcomed 3.6 million visitors from China, the country’s single largest source of foreign arrivals.





Source : thediplomat

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50,000 Tourists Arrive on The First Day of Chinese New Year

On the first day of the Chinese New Year holiday period, January 22, the Macau SAR received a total of 50,090 tourist arrivals.

The 2023 Spring Festival Golden Week will be held from January 21 to 27, making it the first time in three years that there will be no movement restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Following the removal of pandemic control measures earlier this month, daily visitor arrivals in the city have gradually increased, reaching as high as 55,000, the highest single-day record since the pandemic.

Arrivals from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are no longer required to show proof of negative nucleic acid tests as of January 8, allowing free passage between the regions.

On January 22, a total of 239,454 entries and exits were reported at all of the city’s border checkpoints, with nearly 20,000 movements involving Hong Kong residents and 52,663 movements involving mainland residents.

Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), stated last week that the tourism authorities planned to implement measures to attract visitors to Macau, focusing on Hong Kong, mainland China, and foreign countries, as well as hold more promotional activities for overseas markets.

In addition, the MGTO intends to spend MOP30 million over three months on a campaign to increase visitation from the neighboring SAR to 60 to 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels.

The tourism bureau estimates that during the Chinese New Year period, Macau will receive 47,000 visitors per day on average, with the majority of the city’s 142 hotels and inns fully booked.

On Saturday, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng stated that he expects the number of tourists to gradually increase beginning with the third day of the Chinese New Year.

Macau reported around 62,000 visitor arrivals during the three-day New Year’s holiday from December 31 to January 2, with an average of more than 20,000 visitors per day during last year’s Spring Festival period.

On the first day of the Year of the Rabbit, a massive golden dragon parade was held on the city’s streets on Sunday, with tourism officials organizing various festivities and events throughout the week.






Source : macaubusiness

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Macau Expects up to 60,000 tourists per day during the CNY Season

The figure represents a significant improvement over the previous three years, when COVID-related entry measures, strict testing, and lockdowns have significantly reduced tourism numbers.

The SAR’s tourism authority already reported that 55,000 tourists had entered the city on Saturday, smashing previous visitation records during the pandemic period.

The head of the tourism bureau told TDM Canal Macau that “we won’t have 55,000 visitors every day, but we are still expecting an average of 47,000 visitors”.

Macau recently lifted entry restrictions for mainland Chinese, Taiwanese, and Hong Kong visitors and eliminated all quarantine requirements for non-Chinese visitors, signaling the end of a difficult period for Macau’s gaming operators and the economy as a whole.

Despite the relaxation of measures on January 8th and the previous implementation of eVisas for China last year, group tours have yet to be authorized by mainland authorities, despite visitors entering on individual visas and joining local tours upon arrival in the SAR.

Speaking of the group tours, the head of the tourism bureau lamented the lack of organized visitation, noting that “we still don’t have tour groups, we still haven’t received any updates (from mainland Chinese authorities) regarding that, and until we can resumre that form of travel than we might not be able to return to the levels we were seeing in 2019”.

The tourism chief revealed the expectations to local broadcaster TDM Canal Macau, slightly dampening expectations for a stronger increase after the SAR saw 46,000 visitors on Friday (the 13th), much higher than the total average recorded during the entire year of 2022.

Nearly 1 million mainland Chinese residents have reportedly applied for entry permits to Macau and Hong Kong since authorities eased restrictions, and improved transit between the two specially administered regions and mainland China is expected to boost tourism even further.

The mainland authorities have set the CNY holiday period for January 21st to 27th, with up to 70% of the city’s 44,000 hotel rooms already reserved.

According to Macau tourism office data, the figure is a significant increase from the 42.2 percent occupancy rate seen in December, which was a 9.4 percent drop year on year.

Among the December figures, Macau’s five-star operators were the hardest hit, with a 10.2 percent drop in occupancy to 39.9 percent.

During the first 11 months of the year, hotel occupancy fell 14.5 percent year on year to 39 percent, with five-star hotels registering only 35.8 percent occupancy, down 13.1 percent year on year.

Aside from its primary source market, mainland China, Hong Kong is aiming for an influx of visitors, with up to 10,000 visitors from the neighboring Special Administrative Region expected if transportation improves.

The tourism office currently estimates that around 6,000 visitors arrive daily from Hong Kong, a significant increase from the 1,000 registered prior to the opening.

“Currently we still have some constraints regarding the number of ferries and buses (running between the SARs),” the tourism head told the broadcaster.

“Gradually, as the supply of routes increases, the number of tourists from Hong Kong will increase. I hope that we can reach 10,000 daily visitors from Hong Kong,” noted the tourism bureau head.

Links between mainland China and Hong Kong are also improving, with the two territories resuming the high-speed rail link after nearly three years of inactivity, with the first arrival of mainland passengers to the city on Sunday.

Despite the improvements in travel, a wave of infections sweeping mainland China and the two SARs has some concerned, with Beijing authorities noting that 60,000 deaths were recorded in just one day, and estimates that up to 1 million COVID deaths have been recorded in mainland China this year.




Source : agbrief

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Tourism Scenarios in 2023

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, Brazil ranks first in the world in terms of the tourism potential of its natural resources in 2023. We have a population of more than 210 million people, a receptive population, favorable exchange rates that boost domestic consumption and increase exports, and consolidated tourism products in all states.

Global studies show that new generations would rather travel and experience new things than, say, buy the car of their dreams. Even generations such as “Baby Boomers, X, and Y” prioritize tourism to improve their quality of life, and with the consolidated phenomenon of social media, everyone posts their trips, spreading their experiences and strengthening their social status.

Over the last four years, there has been a significant improvement in tourism strategic planning in the state of So Paulo, as well as the implementation of legislation throughout Brazil creating, for example, tourist districts, with the expansion of municipalities incorporating tourism master plans, tourist inventories, and demand surveys, which will enable the sustainable growth of our market in the coming years.

With several launches this year 2023, tourism and real estate projects like Multiproperties have increased the supply and structural quality of products, particularly in leisure tourism destinations. The APM Resort in Caieiras, SP, for example, has 300 units and a Convention Center for 1,200 people.

More than 570,000 hotel housing units, 1.5 million rental vehicles, 40,000 agencies and tour operators, 80 theme parks and natural parks, more than 2.5 million restaurants and bars, and more than 3,000 event centers will be available in the tourism production chain by 2023, among other tourism products (compilation of data from the main tourism entities).

As a result, we can forecast that in 2023, these scenarios for tourism in Brazil will show growth rates of more than 15% in the leisure market compared to 2019 before the pandemic, and with the resumption of events and fairs, the tourism market for corporate destinations will show growth rates of at least 6% compared to pre-world health crisis levels.

The imminent approval of Law 442/91 on games and casinos in Brazil will be the icing on the cake, allowing for the insertion of approximately US$ 70 billion in national and international investments, directly activating the securities, real estate, construction, decoration, technology, and industries; next, professional qualification with the academy and teaching entities will begin, followed by operation, enhancing the desti Brazil, with its 52 tourism segments such as hotels, gastronomy, events, culture, transportation, and concerts, as well as overall commerce, will be able to have a budget similar to that used by Mexico of US$ 500 million, with 12% of the funds raised for tourism, boosting tourist destinations throughout the country.






Source : igamingbrazil


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Bangkok Celebrates the New Year 2023

Fireworks lit up the Bangkok sky shortly before midnight on Saturday, December 31, as Thailand welcomed the arrival of the New Year 2023 with high hopes for tourism recovery.

Countdown events in downtown Bangkok drew both locals and foreign tourists ahead of a spectacular fireworks display over the Chao Phraya River.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) stated that it would host and support such events until 2022, when there would be a return of foreign tourists as well as a recovery of domestic tourism following the relaxation of disease prevention measures.

In addition, to promote tourism in the kingdom’s southern region, the agency held a countdown event in Songkhla province.

Tourism, which was a key driver of growth for the Thai economy prior to the pandemic, has been severely impacted.

In the middle of 2022, the government significantly relaxed restrictions for foreign visitors before dropping requirements for international travelers to show proof of vaccination or test results upon arrival beginning in October. This marked the official reopening of the country to international tourism.

According to the TAT, total foreign tourist arrivals in 2022 are expected to reach 11.5 million.

Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith recently stated that tourism would be the primary driver of Thailand’s 3.8% growth in 2023, following a 3.1-3.2% expansion in 2022.






Source : pattayamail

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Bahrain tourism traffic is up 31% in Q3

According to a key meeting, Bahrain saw a 31% increase in tourism traffic in the third quarter (Q3) of 2022 compared to the second quarter, and the majority of its tourism KPIs improved in Q3.

According to a Bahrain News Agency report, the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) board meeting was chaired by Minister of Tourism Fatima bint Jaafar Alsairafi and reviewed indicators for the previous three months as well as tourism KPIs.

During the third quarter, there was a “significant improvement” in average tourist nights, average visitor spending, total inbound tourism expenditures, and the number of visitors coming to the Kingdom for tourism purposes.

The board was updated on the status of the tourism strategy 2022-2026, as well as the major BTEA projects launched in Q3.

The panel discussed the opening of Exhibition World Bahrain, as well as the detailed schedule of events and activities for Bahrain’s season of festivities, which will be accompanied by tourism packages aimed at attracting many tourists from around the world and new partnerships with a number of companies.

Dr. Nasser Qaedi, CEO of BTEA, briefed the board on projects in the pipeline throughout the kingdom, cruise updates for season 2023, and the results of Bahrain’s season of festivities, which began in December 2022.

The meeting also covered BTEA’s marketing and promotion efforts over the last three months in collaboration with its partners.

According to the report, the minister and the board expressed their satisfaction with the positive developments witnessed by the tourism sector during the year, which reflect the success of BTEA’s initiatives and programs to strengthen Bahrain’s tourism sector.




Source : zawya

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Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau Recommends New Year’s Eve Activities

Taiwan’s Tourism Bureau suggested activities for people in the country to celebrate the arrival of the new year at four national scenic areas across the country.

People from the north can visit Waiao Beach in Yilan County to take part in the “Northeast Coast Sunrise Series Activities” and see the first sunrise of the year over Turtle Island. Following that, they can go hiking or cycling in the surrounding area.

People in central Taiwan can celebrate New Year’s Eve in Guguan or Lishan and ring in the new year at an elevation of 2,000 meters.

This year’s Sun Moon Lake New Year’s Eve party will begin at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 31, and will last until the countdown and release of the 480-second fireworks at both piers.

People in the south should not miss the “Alishan Sunrise Impression Concert” at the Chushan Sunrise Watching Platform on New Year’s Day, which takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m. On New Year’s Day, with Yushan, the sunrise, and a sea of clouds in the background, attendees can enjoy the natural voices and dances of the Indigenous people, as well as melodic orchestra music, on the mountain.



Source : taiwannews

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Newcastle has been Named the United Kingdom’s Christmas Capital for 2022

Newcastle has officially been crowned the UK’s very first Capital of Christmas

The study, conducted by the budgeting experts at Park Christmas Savings, examined the festive activities taking place in every town and city in the United Kingdom. It also revealed the Geordies to be the ultimate Christmas revelers in the country. Newcastle is home to three bustling Christmas markets that feature everything from Santa’s grottos to live music and plenty of festive treats, trinkets, and food.

There is plenty of Yuletide entertainment to keep you entertained. The markets are bigger than ever this year, extending into Grey’s Monument and Grainger Street. Who wouldn’t enjoy a glass of mulled wine, a tasty bratwurst, or some mince pies to warm up with?

The Bergen Tree, one of the country’s most iconic Christmas trees, is also located in the city. Every year since 1949, Norwegian residents have presented the tree to the city of Newcastle to express their gratitude to the British city for its assistance during WWII.

Other variables considered in the study included the number of tourists who visit the city around Christmas, the average cost of a weekend visit in December, and the city’s social media appeal.

Newcastle got into the holiday spirit earlier than many other UK regions this year, with the city’s Christmas lights switch-on taking place on November 15.

According to the most recent odds, the Tyneside town was also the joint favorite to have a white Christmas this year, with a 3/1 chance alongside the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

“Christmas is a time to make lifelong memories and spend quality time with loved ones, and there is no better place to do that than in Newcastle, and this accolade demonstrates that,” says Ian Thomas, destination director at the NewcastleGateshead Initiative, which promotes tourism in the area.




Source : housebeautiful

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