Amber Code removal marks ‘opening of the tourism doors of Hong Kong’

By Faye Bartle |

Cathay Pacific 777 aircraft

Cathay Pacific 777 aircraft. Photo: Cathay Pacific.

Inbound travellers to Hong Kong will no longer be subject to Amber Code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass, effective 14 December 2022, provided they test negative for Covid-19 upon arrival.

Visitors fulfilling travel requirements will be able to enter premises classed as high-risk, involving mask-off or group activities, including restaurants, bars and pubs, from the start of their trip.

Previously, inbound travellers were not permitted to do so for the first three days of their stay, during the ‘medical surveillance period’.

The Amber Code was issued under the Vaccine Pass on the LeaveHomeSafe Covid-19 mobile app.

The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) has welcomed the government’s announcement of the removal of the Amber Code restrictions, which was made earlier today.

“The new arrangements marks the opening of the tourism doors of Hong Kong,” said Dr Pang Yiu-kai, Chairman of HKTB.

“Upon fulfilling the vaccination and Covid-19 test requirements, visitors can now enjoy Hong Kong’s full range of diverse and exciting experiences, including our culinary offerings.

“We expect that the new measures will stimulate travellers interests in visiting Hong Kong.

“HKTB is working tirelessly and will soon roll out large-scale promotional campaigns to demonstrate Hong Kong’s eagerness in welcoming back visitors.

“We will also actively attract visitors to Hong Kong. Details will be announced soon.”

Lan Kwai Fong, in Central Hong Kong

People socialising at bars in the Lan Kwai Fong area, in Central Hong Kong. Photo YIUCHEUNG / Shutterstock.com

Cathay Pacific has also welcomed the Hong Kong SAR Government’s latest measures to facilitate travel to the city, saying ‘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.’

Cathay Pacific Group has added approximately 3,000 passenger flight sectors in Q4 2022.

This includes Cathay Pacific resuming flights to popular destinations such as Tokyo (Haneda), Denpasar (Bali) and Zurich in November, as well as Sapporo, Fukuoka, Penang and Dhaka in December. More popular destinations are set to be resume in 2023, including Phuket and Nagoya in January.

Further to this, HK Express has resumed flights to Tokyo (Haneda), Chiang Mai and Da Nang in December, with services to Jeju and Busan in the pipeline for January.

The Group is on track to achieve its target of operating up to one-third of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity levels by the end of 2022.

‘We anticipate that we will be operating around 70% of pre-pandemic passenger flight capacity by the end of 2023, with an aim to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024,’ said the Group.

PCR-based nucleic acid test (‘test-and-go’) arrangements at the airport for inbound travellers, as well as the requirement for a PCR test on day two of arrival, remain unchanged.

Under Secretary for Health Dr Libby Lee has said that the required time period for daily rapid antigen tests (RATs) to confirm negative results has been “reduced from seven days to five days”, as highlighted in a report by news.gov.hk (an online news platform launched by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in 2002).

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