NEWS

China-to-Hong Kong visitors will no longer need quarantine

Published on: 7th September 2021

Move gives hope that Hong Kong is considering loosening its ‘zero-Covid’ policy, as report states that half of the territory’s exhibition sector faces closure if restrictions are not eased.

Travellers arriving in Hong Kong from China will no longer need to quarantine, an important first step towards reopening the border with the mainland and reviving the flow of visitors that are important to the local economy. Chief executive Carrie Lam has announced that, as from Wednesday 15th September, a maximum of 2,000 people per day who haven’t been to medium- or high-risk areas on the mainland or Macau can enter the city. Visitors will still need a negative Covid test prior to arrival and must take several tests while in Hong Kong to ensure they’re not infected.

The ‘Come2HK’ travel programme marks a significant relaxation of Hong Kong’s pandemic era travel policies – some of the strictest in the world with mandatory hotel quarantines lasting as long as 21 days. Hong Kong’s zero-Covid strategy has seen authorities impose strict border restrictions and ban flights from extremely high-risk countries, in the hope that stopping local community spread would allow it to reopen borders with mainland China. However, the programme isn’t reciprocal: travellers from Hong Kong to the mainland are still required to go through quarantine.

Meanwhile, a report suggests that nearly half of Hong Kong’s exhibition and convention sector could face closure by the end of the year if authorities do not ease travel restrictions and roll out more subsidies, an industry survey has found. The Hong Kong Exhibition and Convention Industry Association, which released the report on Monday, urged the government to relax Covid-19 quarantine rules for eligible business travellers to attend events, conferences and conventions in the city.

It warned that 45% of event organisers, contractors, freight forwarders, travel agents, audio-visual equipment suppliers and design houses could fold within 12 months if current control measures remain and financial aid is not provided by the end of this year.

In its survey, conducted in August across 60 members, the association found event organisers and industry players were facing losses totalling HK$50m this year. According to the survey, all respondents said quarantine-free travel for overseas participants was important to their operations, with 75% warning they would consider moving international events elsewhere if Hong Kong insists on maintaining its current measures until the end of the year.

The association called on the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau to provide more aid and prepare a road map for relaxing travel restrictions, so the industry could plan ahead, warning the city could lose out to foreign competitors.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post, the Bureau said it was aware of the survey and would continue to liaise closely with the sector to work on reinvigorating Hong Kong’s premier position as an international convention, exhibition and sourcing hub.

 

 

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