Hong Kong Loosens COVID Travel Restrictions For Groups

Hong Kong has maintained some of the strictest COVID restrictions for much of the pandemic. However, the city is now figuring out ways to safely reopen its borders to tourists.

In a welcome move, international visitors holding an Amber Code on vaccine pass can visit venues in Hong Kong that allow mask-on activities from today, November 17. Plus, travellers in tour groups can enter restaurants and other venues during the first three days of their visit.

Travellers in tour groups will be exempted from ‘Amber Code’ restrictions

Hong Kong has eliminated many of its stringent COVID-19 policies in recent months, including the mandatory 3-day hotel quarantine. And while the city has eased some of the pre-departure rules, vaccinated travellers must undergo a rapid antigen test 24 hours before their departure. In addition, travellers must undergo a PCR test on day 2, day 4, and day 6 respectively according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

In lieu of the hotel quarantine, travellers must continue to self-monitor for symptoms for three days. Currently, all inbound tourists holding the Amber Code in vaccine pass are banned from entering restaurants, bars, gyms, and salons. With the latest development, travellers in tour groups will be exempted from this ban. Those not in groups will still have to abide by the existing rules. 

hong kong covid restrictions tour groups
Under the eased COVID travel restrictions in Hong Kong, tour groups operated by licensed tourist guides will be allowed to visit tourist attractions from November 17. (Image: Sarah Richer/ Unsplash)

Travel agents must pre-register trip itineraries

Under the new arrangements, those travelling to Hong Kong in tour groups operated by licensed tourist guides will be allowed to visit tourist attractions. Parks and museums will also throw their doors open for tourists in groups. The travel agents must, however, pre-register trip itineraries with the Travel Industry Council in Hong Kong. Authorities are also looking at relaxing the number of COVID-19 tests for group travellers. The announcement came after financial executives attending a high-profile economic summit in Hong Kong expressed disappointment over the restrictions. 

With the economy tanking, the government finally threw open the city’s doors in September. But the push to revive Hong Kong, while welcome and long overdue, faces many challenges. While the “0+3” requirement is not enough to drive tourism, the relaxation for tour groups would help Hong Kong to cripple back to normalcy. With appropriate arrangements, the inbound travel market can resume orderly.

(Main and featured images: Nic Low/Unsplash)

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Kuala Lumpur