Bangkok Is Top Choice As Flight Searches From Hong Kong Jump

Travel company Expedia Group revealed that online searches for flights out of Hong Kong had jumped 290% just 24 hours after the government announced it would relax some hotel quarantine requirements on Monday.

Travel within Europe showed the biggest trend, but the Thai capital Bangkok was the most popular destination, followed by Osaka in Japan. According to Expedia, flight searches for both cities were up tenfold compared to the previous seven-day average. Other demanded tourist spots were Phuket, Seoul, and Singapore.

In a Wednesday statement, Expedia Asia public relations director Lavinia Rajaram said shorter hotel quarantine requirements played a role in renewed foreign travel interest. However, new search data indicated that Hong Kong’s interest in resuming foreign travel had been gradually recovering in the last six months.

Interest in international flight searches on soared 60% between April and June relative to the same previous quarter, Rajaram revealed.

Hong Kong announced it would reduce mandatory hotel quarantine from seven to three nights, keep high-risk places like restaurants restricted, and require travelers to take daily Covid-19 tests for four days after arrival.

However, it is still behind the rest of the world, as most countries have relaxed restrictions and strict controls on travel this year. Additionally, people traveling to Hong Kong still risk being sent to state-run isolation centers if they test positive for the disease.

In response, the tourism industry and other sectors have asked Hong Kong’s government for more relaxation.

Expedia’s report also showed that travel searches for4- to 7-day short breaks in Asia had also doubled after Monday’s announcement.

Such trips are “clearly in the minds of Hong Kong travelers in the immediate term, with end of summer escapes in the next two to three weeks proving popular,” the company added.

A study conducted two months ago found that Hong Kong residents refrain from traveling abroad due to concerns about the quarantine’s complex requirements and high cost, Expedia added.

Meanwhile, China’s largest travel agency saw a 249% increase in bookings for flights to Hong Kong after the new quarantine rules were announced.