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Shares in Cathay Pacific Surge as Hong Kong Announces the End of More Pandemic Travel Rules

Shares in Cathay Pacific Surge as Hong Kong Announces the End of More Pandemic Travel Rules

a group of people wearing face masks

Cathay Pacific welcomed a pandemic policy flipflop from the Hong Kong government on Tuesday, saying the sudden decision to abandon various Covid measures in the city would “boost sentiment for travel” amongst international visitors who had been put off by the territory’s myriad restrictions.

For the first time in nearly three years, international tourists are able to come to Hong Kong with no restrictions on their movement following the abrupt change of policy that appears to have mimicked a similar move from the central government in mainland China.

Until September, inbound visitors were made to endure a period of hotel quarantine, but in a landmark move, this was replaced by a policy of multiple Covid tests and a surveillance health app that barred visitors from entering busy public environments like bars and restaurants for the first three days after their arrival.

Despite complaints from the travel and tourism industries, the Hong Kong government had seemed particularly reticent about dropping or easing this policy any further.

But following hot on the heels of Beijing’s decision to scrap the mainland’s own pandemic surveillance app, Hong Kong has quickly followed suit and adjusted the requirements for visitors coming to the territory.

Hong Kong hasn’t, however, lifted all of its restrictions and to be allowed entry, visitors must still be considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19. They must also take a rapid antigen test before departure, a PCR test on arrival and a second PCR test two days after arrival.

If a post-arrival test comes back positive, visitors will be required to isolate for at least five days.

Importantly, however, visitors won’t need to show a health app to enter busy public venues, and they won’t be barred from entering bars, restaurants and clubs.

So, despite the long list of continuing entry rules, Cathay Pacific believes more international visitors will now feel that now is the time to visit Hong Kong.

“Cathay Pacific welcomes the Hong Kong SAR Government’s latest measures to facilitate travel to Hong Kong, especially the decision to remove the Amber Code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass for inbound persons entering Hong Kong,” the airline said in a statement.

“The adjustments will help further boost sentiment for travel, especially among inbound visitors, thereby facilitating the resumption of travel activities and strengthening of network connectivity at the Hong Kong aviation hub,” the statement continued.

Cathay Pacific has been slowly rebuilding its route network and adding flights to popular destinations, including London and Paris. Last month, the airline resumed flights to Tokyo, Bali and Zurich, and in December flights to Sapporo, Fukuoka, Penang and Dhaka have restarted.

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