The number of people passing through Hong Kong’s airport jumped last month as travel restrictions eased and China reopened borders for the first time since the pandemic began.
Hong Kong International Airport reported 2.1 million passengers in January, nearly 2,900% growth from the same period last year. Traffic to and from Southeast Asia and Japan recorded the most significant increases, according to a press release from airport authorities.
Chinese mainland’s move to reopen borders with Hong Kong, coupled with pent-up demand to travel for the Lunar New Year break, helped fuel the surge. The city is eager to restore its status as a global financial hub and gateway to the mainland— its largest source of tourism and biggest trading partner — since its economy took a sharp blow amid the prolonged closure.
In a bid to attract tourists, officials this month launched a tourism campaign that includes distributing more than 500,000 free air tickets this year. The Airport Authority purchased the tickets in 2020 as part of a HK$2 billion ($255 million) rescue package for the airline industry.
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