Searches of air tickets between HK and mainland soar after scrapping quota limitations on personnel exchange starting Feb 6
Published: Feb 03, 2023 01:44 PM

People shop and relax at Causeway Bay in Hong Kong on January 2. Photo: cnsphoto

People shop and relax at Causeway Bay in Hong Kong on January 2. Photo: cnsphoto

The search volume of air tickets between Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) and mainland soared following the official announcement on Friday morning to scrap quota limitations on personnel exchanges and resume group tours starting February 6.

Travel agency told the Global Times that its search volume of air tickets between Chinese mainland and HK increased by seven-fold in half an hour following the announcement.

The popularity of Hong Kong tourism searches rose by more than 371 percent instantly, and the popularity of Macao tourism searches rose by 324 percent, data from online travel agency Tongcheng Travel showed, adding that tourists are mainly coming from Guangdong, Fujian and Shanghai. said the search volume for destinations in Hong Kong and Macao increased by more than three times in an instant after the announcement was issued, and the browsing of group tour in Hong Kong and Macao increased by 180 percent.

China will scrap quota limitations on personnel exchanges between mainland and Hong Kong/Macao, and resume group tours on February 6, the HK and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council announced on Friday. told the Global Times that it has launched nearly 100 group tour products to woo travelers. 

As of Wednesday, there were nearly 270 direct flights between Chinese mainland and Hong Kong per week, with departures from 26 cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Fuzhou and Nanjing. 

From February 20, Cathay Pacific will resume three weekly passenger flights between Wenzhou in East China's Zhejiang Province and Hong Kong.

The carrier said it has covered services in 13 cities in Chinese mainland, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

Since the beginning of this year, the number of flights from the Chinese mainland to and from Hong Kong and Macao has gradually increased. The number of single-day passenger round-trip flights has increased from fewer than 50 in early January to 130 on Thursday, and the number of single-day passenger flights in one month has increased by 171 percent month-on-month, data from information provider VariFlight showed on Friday.

The move will directly bring a rising number of tourists from Chinese mainland, which in turn will drive the recovery of Hong Kong and Macao tourist hotels, catering, shopping, entertainment and other industries, said Zeng Guojun, a professor of Sun Yat-sen University.

Data from said the prices of more than 20 percent of direct flights to Hong Kong are lower than those of the same period in 2019, reading from the average ticket price in the past seven days. Among them, the prices of two direct flights of Cathay Pacific from Hangzhou and Nanjing to Hong Kong are even 30 percent lower than in 2019.

Since the optimization of the immigration policy on December 27, a large number of mainland tourists have traveled to Hong Kong, and the number of air ticket bookings to Hong Kong increased by 5.5 times year-on-year on the during the Spring Festival in 2023, ranking second among destinations.

The HKSAR has launched a campaign to lure tourists, business travelers and investors, with a series of incentives announced.

A total of 500,000 free tickets - the first wave of incentives to attract tourists to Hong Kong - will be provided by three airlines mainly for short-haul flights between the Chinese mainland, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries. 

Global Times