Wednesday,  March 29, 2023  11:57 pm

A "milestone for tourism revival": Hong Kong scraps most COVID travel rules

A "milestone for tourism revival": Hong Kong scraps most COVID travel rules
Hong Kong. (File photo/Pax Global Media)
Michael Pihach

Michael Pihach is an award-winning journalist with a keen interest in digital storytelling. In addition to PAX, Michael has also written for CBC Life, Ryerson University Magazine, IN Magazine, and Michael joins PAX after years of working at popular Canadian television shows, such as Steven and Chris, The Goods and The Marilyn Denis Show.

Travellers heading to Hong Kong are no longer required to undergo a mandatory PCR test upon arrival, the Hong Kong SAR Government announced recently. 

In addition, since Dec. 29, the city's Vaccine Pass, which allowed access to specified premises, has been lifted. 

“The new measures mark a key milestone for tourism revival and the full reopening of the tourism doors of Hong Kong. Visitors can now fully enjoy Hong Kong’s diverse offerings once they arrive in town," said Dr. Pang Yiu-kai, chairman of the Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), in a statement. 

"We believe this will attract visitors to Hong Kong from around the world. Taking into account the pace of outbound travel resumption in different visitor source markets, HKTB will gradually step up its promotions worldwide to uphold Hong Kong’s status as a world-class travel destination.”

Inbound travellers to Hong Kong are now only required to present negative results from PCR tests conducted within 48 hours or rapid antigen tests within 24 hours before their flights to Hong Kong. 

The wearing of masks also remains compulsory. 

Canada imposes new travel rules 

Hong Kong has, for nearly three years, largely followed China's lead in reducing COVID-19 infections, with both places being the last strongholds in adopting a zero-COVID policy.

While Hong Kong easing travel restrictions is a step forward for reviving tourism, Canada, meanwhile, has introduced new restrictions of its own for travellers returning from China. 

Starting Jan. 5, 2023, Ottawa will require people age two and older flying from China, Hong Kong and Macao to test negative for COVID-19 before leaving for Canada. 

The measure, which will apply regardless of vaccination status, will be in place for 30 days and will be reassessed as more data and evidence becomes available, the Government of Canada said in a release on Dec. 31. 

Canada joins other countries in Europe who have tightened their COVID rules for China flights. 

Officials in France, Spain and England have also announced new measures for travellers arriving from China. 

Don't miss a single travel story: subscribe to PAX today!  Click here to follow PAX on Facebook.