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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Hong Kong flight search soars, mostly to or from the UK: online travel portal

Hong Kong flight search soars, mostly to or from the UK: online travel portal

Online travel portal Expedia said the number of flight searches on its platform has surged following the lifting of flight bans and relaxations in the inbound length of quarantine stays.
The data showed that compared to the average daily search in the past 7 days before and 48 hours after the announcement, the overall outbound Hong Kong flight searches increased by nearly 90 percent.

The top five international search destinations are London - increased by 1.3 times, Bangkok - 1.2 times, Vancouver - about 1 time more, Toronto - increased by 80 percent, and Tokyo - increased by 75 percent.

The search data also showed that shorter length of stay trips of 7 days or shorter are being considered, indicating that travelers are now considering destinations that provide convenient quarantine-free travel requirements.

Prior to the announcement, the majority of travelers were searching for week-long to month-long trips, the portal said.

As for flights arriving in Hong Kong, the number of searches increased by some 2.8 times, with more than a quarter coming from the United Kingdom, followed by the United States with 15 percent, Canada and Australia with 10 percent, and the Philippines with 5 percent.

A ban on flights from nine countries – Australia, Canada, France, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, UK, and the United States – will be lifted from April 1.

Hong Kong resident passengers will have to fulfill conditions, including two doses of vaccination, testing negative for the coronavirus no more than 48 hours before boarding, and having a valid 7-day booking at an approved quarantine hotel.

The quarantine period for Hong Kong resident overseas arrivals will also be shortened from 14 days to just seven if they return a negative PCR test result on the fifth day of their stay, negative rapid test results on the sixth and seventh, and a self-reported PCR testing on the twelfth day.

Arrivals can also choose to remain in quarantine longer than seven days, with a PCR test to be carried out on the twelfth day of their stay.

Executive director of Hong Kong Tourism Association Timothy Chui Ting-pong told The Standard that the uproar in the number of searches does not necessarily mean there will be more Hongkongers traveling to other countries.

Chui said Hongkongers are just searching for air ticket prices out of curiosity: “I think there is still a long way before Hongkongers’ traveling desire will return to normal.”
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