End of Hong Kong’s quarantine restrictions draws mixed reactions

Hong Kong’s latest measures to scrap the hotel quarantine arrangement for passengers arriving in Hong Kong effective 26 September 2022 yielded lifted sentiment of travel.

Inbound travellers from Taiwan and other countries arriving at Hong Kong International Airport will no longer be required to undergo hotel quarantine with the new “0+3” measure which includes a three-day self-monitored medical surveillance arrangement – with the exception of access to high-risk areas like restaurants.

Travellers arriving at Hong Kong International Airport will no longer be required to undergo hotel quarantine

Corporate Travel Management Asia’s CEO Larry Lo said: “We welcome the ‘0+3’ policy and it will benefit those corporate and leisure travellers and boost outbound travels. However, it can’t help much with the Hong Kong economy since the inbound travellers can’t dine out and join public functions once they arrived in Hong Kong.”

The Federation of Hong Kong Hotel Owners’ association manager, Winnie Chan, said the measure would facilitate outbound travel more than it would lure overseas visitors. As a result, Hong Kong hotels can expect to lose about 20 per cent of local travellers to outbound trips.

“Without quarantine hotel bookings, hotels are back to compete with existing players in the staycation, long-staying package, F&B and banquet business. But (the) size of (the) domestic market is limited and (the) mainland Chinese market remains as our key source of business.

“The ultimate solution is (the complete) reopening of (the) border between Hong Kong and China,” Chan opined.

Regardless of business sentiments, airlines are leaping forward with improved services to facilitate travel. Cathay Pacific will add more than 400 flights in October to both regional and longhaul destinations.

Newly inaugurated Greater Bay Airlines will add an additional weekly frequency to Bangkok from October 4, and has plans to add more flights between Hong Kong and Thailand from November. The airline will also operate flights between Hong Kong and China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea in the coming months, subject to approval from the respective authorities.

There is no clear roadmap on when all restrictions will be lifted, but Hong Kong chief executive John Lee said the government would continue to monitor the situation. Any changes would be done “progressively and in an orderly manner”, Lee said.

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