SINGAPORE – Hong Kong is confident that its next “air travel bubble” could take place in mainland China, the executive director of the city’s tourism board said.
Dane Cheng told CNBC that such plans would depend on the success of the upcoming ones Hong Kong-Singapore travel corridor. However, he noted that adding a similar quarantine-free travel regime in China’s Greater Bay Area would be the logical next step for business and leisure travelers alike.
“The next for Hong Kong that we would like to see with the mainland, the Greater Bay Area,” Cheng said on Friday.
The Greater Bay Area connects several cities in Guangdong Province with the Hong Kong and Macau Special Administrative Regions.
“That would be an important boundary for us,” he added, noting both the closeness and the shared business and family ties.
If the Hong Kong-Singapore travel bubble is suspended due to the worsening coronavirus situation in both cities, it could destroy hope that the air travel bubble will become a model for other countries.
For his part, Cheng noted that both sides need to be “careful” in implementing the program. But he added that it was “an important first step” in resuming international travel.
In October, tourist arrivals in Hong Kong fell 99% year over year to 7,800 passengers. Typically, travelers from mainland China account for 60% of inbound tourism in Hong Kong.
“We want more countries and regions, more cities to open in the first quarter of next year,” said Cheng.
On Wednesday, the major Asian tour operator Klook said Tourism associations in the region had already made contact Discuss plans should other bilateral travel agreements arise.