The Hong Kong authorities have announced this morning the launch of a campaign of 2,000 million Hong Kong dollars (approximately 231 million euros) to boost tourism and investment in the city. Among other measures, the government has revealed that the initiative will include the gift of 700,000 plane tickets to people who want to visit the city and also for its own citizens to visit other places.
Likewise, the Hong Kong administration, under the campaign called ‘Hello Hong Kong’, will offer visitors gift vouchers to spend in hotels, tourist spots or restaurants from the city With this, as pointed out this morning by the Hong Kong Finance Secretary, Paul Chan, they hope to attract more than 200 business, cultural and tourist events, reports the Efe Agency.
At the moment, the authorities have not specified how interested persons will be able to access these plane tickets, although as reported by the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, it is give away through different activities such as raffles or offers of “buy one, get one free”. In any case, it will be the airlines that determine what the process will be like.
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Regarding distribution, the government has highlighted this morning that 65% of the 700,000 tickets will be delivered by airlines through their direct channels or agents. And the rest will be reserved for sectors related to tourism. The first phase will begin on March 1 and several will follow in the following months.
Modernity and tradition as attractive
The former British colony is a major global tourist attraction. In fact, in 2019, in the pre-pandemic era, it received a total of 55.91 million tourists, according to data from World Info. Its imposing skyscrapers —and the impressive light show in Victoria Bay— or its traditional markets are a delight for the eyes of the tourist who seeks new experiences. It is a city where tradition merges with modernity.
Known as one of the four ‘Asian tigers’ for its rapid economic growth since the late 20th century, Hong Kong has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. According to the World Bank, in 2021 it was $49,800.50. That is, it is above European countries such as the United Kingdom, France or Spain.
Hong Kong is a city vibrantfull of possibilities, where the skyscrapers intermingle with the locals of dim sum. A global financial center and major world trade port, almost all the big companies are based in the autonomous region of China and, until recently, employment and housing were not an issue.
poverty under the lights
Under the neon lights, poverty and inequality loom like a shadow that threatens to upset the social balance. Data published in June last year by the SCMP showed that the The richest 10% of the population earn 40 times more than the top 10% more poor.
“Jobs were not hard to come by and as long as you worked hard, you could eat well,” Chan Chuen-bui, a 71-year-old man, remarked to the SCMP. “But that is no longer the case.”
He, like thousands of other Hong Kong families, have to live in overcrowded apartments, where sanitation is conspicuous by its absence. The boom real estate that the city of almost 8 million inhabitants has lived through has made the possibility of buying — or renting — a home is completely out of reach of a lot of people.
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The solution for many, in addition to having to live on the street, is to rent the famous ‘cage-houses‘, cubicles of less than 5 square meters in which to store the belongings and memories of a lifetime. The price of this misfortune is between 170 and 190 US dollars.
In these buildings, each room can contain up to 30 wire cages. And of course, all tenants share a bathroom, often with little maintenance. It is not surprising that the UN has described these conditions as a “un insult to human dignity”. More if it is one of the richest places in the world.
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