Local budget airline Hong Kong Express will resume flights to Fukuoka and Osaka once a week from next month as demand for trips to Japan continues to rise after the country reopened its border to tourists.
The company announced that it will enhance services between Hong Kong and Japan next month with the resumption of flights between Hong Kong and Osaka and Fukuoka, in addition to current routes to Tokyo.
The new service to Fukuoka will operate on Thursdays from August 4, with UO 804 departing Hong Kong at 8.50am and arriving at 1.15pm. The return flight, UO 805, will depart at 2.15pm and reach Hong Kong at 4.50pm.
Flights to Osaka will begin service on Sundays from August 14, with the outbound UO 808 leaving at 9.30am and arriving in Osaka at 2.20pm. The returning UO 809 will depart at 3.20pm and land in Hong Kong at 6.25pm.
But travel agencies hold dim hopes for further recovery of outbound travels despite airlines resuming flights.
Steve Huen Kwok-chuen, senior executive director of EGL Tours, said the current seven-day hotel quarantine requirement in Hong Kong is still the main obstacle hindering local travelers from booking trips. "We respect the authorities in making decisions for public health concerns, but if there is still a seven-day hotel quarantine, the number of tourists will never rise."
The agency has been sending one guided tour to Japan every week since the first group of 10 departed June 22.
It is also offering tours to other popular countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and South Korea, but Japan remains the most popular.
Hong Kong, mainland and Taiwan travelers can bypass quarantine and PCR test upon arrival in Japan, regardless of vaccination status.
Macau is on the yellow list - only travelers with valid vaccination proof are exempt from quarantine and on-arrival tests.
However, all travelers must still submit proof of a negative Covid
test result taken within 72 hours of traveling to Japan.