Hong Kong’s tourism board has pledged £128 million to drive efforts to rebuild its tourism economy following the coronavirus crisis, although Chief Dane Cheng said it would still be a few months before the city could reopen to tourists.
The Hong Kong Tourism Board’s (HKTB) plan will be split into two phases, and its short-term focus would be to encourage visitors to return as soon as possible. When borders reopen and global travel resumes, the HKTB will launch its ‘Open House Hong Kong’ campaign, aiming to attract previous and new visitors through ‘tactical offers and exclusive experiences’, according to the HKTB. Medium- to long-term, the HKTB will review the city’s tourism brand and positioning; and following the resumption of travel, it will embark on larger-scale, multi-channel promotions.
Greece plans to reopen in mid-May
Elsewhere, Greece is planning to reopen tourism from 14 May. Holidaymakers will not need to have been vaccinated against Covid-19 to visit the destination. However, Tourism minister Harry Theocharis told an online press conference during the ITB Berlin virtual event that 14 May was an ‘aspirational date’ and would depend on the health situation in the country at the time.
“Tourists will be welcome if, before they travel, they have either been vaccinated or have antibodies or test negative,” explained Theocharis. “All tourists will be subject to random testing similar to last year. We can use rapid testing and isolation will take place immediately without the hassle of moving 24 hours after you have settled in your room. Our only ambition is to ensure Greece is open to allow anybody who wishes to visit to be able to do so.”
Majorca plans a travel corridor with the UK
And Majorca is hopeful that its travel corridor with the UK can be opened in time for the summer peak. Officials believe the island’s 800,000 population can be vaccinated within the next four months, making a travel corridor with the UK a realistic prospect this summer. Any decision about travel to the island from the UK government would likely be swayed in Majorca’s favour if its population was vaccinated.
“We are very optimistic,” said Lucia Escribano, Majorca Tourism Director. “We expect to have 70 per cent of hotels open.” She added that the island was awaiting a directive from the Madrid government as to whether a negative PCR test would be valid for entry to the island in addition to a health passport detailing vaccines.
Meanwhile, the European Tourism Manifesto alliance, a group of more than 60 public and private travel and tourism organisations, has made a series of joint recommendations for EU Member States on how to relaunch travel and tourism in Europe.