Hong Kong tourism demand recovers

Hong Kong tourism demand recovers

The departure hall at Suvarnabhumi Airport is packed with passengers. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Thai Travel Agents Association (TTAA) expects the outbound tourism market to see growth after Hong Kong became the latest destination to allow group tours with fewer restrictions.

The TTAA forecasts that pent-up demand from Thai tourists will lead to higher tourist arrivals in the first quarter of next year.

The Hong Kong government has allowed licensed travel agencies and inbound tour groups with pre-registered itineraries to enter designated tourist attractions, including theme parks, museums and temples, and pass meals at designated dining areas for those holding amber codes for vaccines, starting this month.

The previous 0+3 arrangement restricted inbound tourists from visiting places such as temples or restaurants within three days of arrival.

Chotecchang Soorangura, vice-chairman of the TTAA, said the relaxation provided convenience for tour operators who wanted to market.

He said that in the past month, due to the restrictions, a small number of tour groups visited Hong Kong. Under the previous measures, they could only order takeaway from restaurants, which was inconvenient for tourists.

Mr Chotecchang said the recent loosening of policies would benefit tourists planning to visit Hong Kong. Outbound demand should be healthy this peak season, especially for those who want to visit the island’s famous temples for blessings, he said.

Mr Chotecchang said: “Hong Kong is famous for the spiritual journey of Thai tourists. Many of our customers said they wanted to remove the bad luck brought by Covid-19.”

However, flight capacity between Thailand and Hong Kong remains a concern. Although Hong Kong tourists have started returning to Thailand since the mandatory quarantine was lifted in September, the number of flights has not fully recovered.

Hong Kong tourism workers, such as those in hotels, may not be as prepared as their Thai counterparts, he said.

In addition to resuming travel between Thailand and Hong Kong, there may be travel exchanges with mainland China in the first quarter of next year, but only in very limited areas, such as Zhuhai in the Greater Bay Area, which is close to Macau and Hong Kong. Mr Choate Chong. Last month, Beijing gradually eased travel restrictions within the Greater Bay Area, allowing mainland residents to use an online visa system instead of applying in person to travel to Macau.

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