Hong Kong fully opened its doors on 6 February, admitting travellers without PCR tests or COVID vaccine requirements, reviving the city’s role as a global financial hub and gateway to Mainland China.
After the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government eased COVID-19 entry restrictions last month, ending the hotel quarantine requirement for inbound visitors, the city is gearing up to receive a rush of travellers. The Travel Industry Council expects departures to surge as much as 50% over the next few months. To lure visitors back to the city, meanwhile, the Hong Kong Tourism Board is set to offer 500,000 free airline tickets next year once all remaining travel restrictions are dropped.
The lockdowns in the Yangtze River Delta region during the April COVID-19 outbreak put a damper on economic activity and, inevitably, impacted many of the activities of Hong Kong investors in the region. With the pandemic situation in the region gradually stabilising, Shanghai has initiated a phased resumption of business activities, while the municipal government has looked to introduce additional measures aimed at preventing future infection clusters, bolstering enterprises and promoting the region’s overall development.
Leaf through any pictorial history book on Hong Kong and you cannot avoid noticing that the city has always been closely linked to the sea – pages will be full of images of tea clippers, junks, sampans, steamers and container freighters.