Hong Kong to offer flight deals, vouchers to lure Xian and Qingdao visitors


New travel packages with perks such as complimentary hotel breakfast and three must-have items for visiting the city – an Octopus Card, an internet SIM card and a travel adaptor – were also included, it added.

Travellers from the two cities will also receive two vouchers, each valued at HK$100 (US$13), which can be used at more than 2,000 shops in Hong Kong, providing a discount of HK$100 for a minimum HK$200 in spending.

“Upon the central government’s announcement to expand the Individual Visit Scheme to Xian, the Tourism Board will further facilitate the market expansion in the western and northern parts of the mainland,” Cheng said.

“Hong Kong has recently witnessed new travel trends, offering more and completely new check-in spots. I believe that friends from Qingdao visiting Hong Kong … will find a fresh and exciting experience.”

A Hong Kong delegation visits Xian. The Tourism Board says it will work with airlines and travel agencies to roll out the new incentives. Photo: Handout

Xian and Qingdao were the latest additions to the Individual Visit Scheme that already covered 49 mainland cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Chongqing.

Residents of these cities were allowed to visit Hong Kong on their own rather than by joining tour groups from March 6.

But the scheme was met with a lukewarm response in the two new target cities in its first days, with residents there taking to social media to question the need for the new policy as many holding group tour visas said they had made solo trips to Hong Kong for years.

“With the number of eligible cities expanded to 51, this will be very conducive to the development of Hong Kong’s tourism sector,” minister Yeung said.

“We have at once launched publicity activities in the newly added cities, with a view to providing travellers from the two cities with quality services.”

The board has not revealed the cost of the latest incentives.

Hong Kong leader welcomes move to expand solo traveller scheme to Xian, Qingdao

According to the board, 175,000 visitors arrived from Xian and 93,000 from Qingdao in 2018, before the pandemic struck. The corresponding figures for last year were 112,000 and 84,000, despite the reopening of the border.

The board has forecast 46 million people will visit Hong Kong in 2024, 35 per cent more than last year, but still only 70 per cent of the 65 million who flocked to the city in 2018.

Song Shuo, deputy general manager of Shaanxi Yuntong International Travel Agency, said inquiries about individual travel packages to Hong Kong had increased by three times since the new arrangement was announced.

“Themed packages intrigued customers the most are those focusing on family fun and Instagram-worthy hotspots. Some of them are also eager to find out about art and culture packages that include the Hong Kong Palace Museum and M+ museum,” Song said.

Feng Gaoxuan, deputy general manager of Xian Overseas Tourist, said the company had promptly adjusted and tailor-made its travel packages to suit individual travellers.

“Most individual travellers are young working professionals. However, we are pleasantly surprised to see a significant number of elderly people as well. They are still energetic and have more freedom with their time,” Feng said.



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