Still, Hong Kong’s Travel Industry Council expects outbound travel to surge as much as 50 per cent for the next few months, executive director Fanny Yeung told public broadcaster RTHK.
Growth would be capped by the number of outbound flights, however, Yeung cautioned, while inbound tourism was not likely to grow by much, inhibited by the existing curbs.
Travel website Expedia Hong Kong said searches for Japan surged to 10 times last week while those for Taiwan almost doubled over the prior 14 days.
Trip.com said flight searches surged 95 times and orders soared 50 per cent on its Hong Kong site on the week, with Tokyo, Bangkok, Osaka and Singapore featuring as top destinations.
International aviation body IATA said the next step would be for Hong Kong to scrap all COVID-19 measures.
Hong Kong had been a global outlier outside mainland China in imposing hotel quarantine for international arrivals, in line with the country’s “dynamic zero” COVID-19 strategy.
Business groups, diplomats and many residents had slammed the COVID-19 rules saying they threatened Hong Kong’s competitiveness and standing as a global financial centre.
Stilll, residents landing at the city’s airport were thrilled by Monday’s easing.
“It’s now totally hassle-free, so I just came out within 30 minutes,” said businessman Marjuk Mutahlif, 32. “I can go.”
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