Cathay Pacific airplanes at Hong Kong Worldwide Airports, which is seeing a surge in passengers. PHILIP FONG—AFP by way of Getty Photographs

The variety of individuals passing by Hong Kong’s airport jumped final month as journey restrictions eased and China reopened borders for the primary time because the pandemic started. 

Hong Kong Worldwide Airport reported 2.1 million passengers in January, practically 2,900% progress from the identical interval final yr. Visitors to and from Southeast Asia and Japan recorded probably the most important will increase, in keeping with a press launch from airport authorities. 

China’s transfer to reopen borders with Hong Kong, coupled with pent-up demand to journey for the Lunar New Yr break, helped gas the surge. Town is keen to revive its standing as a world monetary hub and gateway to China — its largest supply of tourism and largest buying and selling accomplice — since its economic system took a pointy blow amid the extended closure. 

Hong Kong is quickly eradicating pandemic restrictions since China ended its Covid Zero coverage, and has successfully returned to regular except a masks mandate. Earlier this month, every day quotas and testing necessities had been dropped and all boundary checkpoints opened.

In a bid to draw vacationers, officers this month launched a tourism marketing campaign that features distributing greater than 500,000 free air tickets this yr. The Airport Authority bought the tickets in 2020 as a part of a HK$2 billion ($255 million) rescue package deal for the airline trade.

Mainland guests to Hong Kong might rebound this yr to 78% of 2019 ranges with the elimination of restrictions together with the every day traveler quota and necessary Covid exams, in keeping with Bloomberg Intelligence.

Hong Kong was Asia’s busiest worldwide airport earlier than Covid. January’s knowledge characterize solely a 3rd of the site visitors the airport skilled in the identical interval 4 years in the past. The federal government needs to revive the town’s international model after three years of self-imposed isolation in the course of the pandemic, protests and the imposition of robust safety legal guidelines. Gross home product shrank 3.5% final yr, the third contraction in 4 years.