Travelers poised for mainland first

Local | Sophie Hui 21 May 2021

One third of Hongkongers would like to travel to the mainland, Macau and Taiwan on their first trip out of the territory once border restrictions are lifted.

That finding came in a Travel Industry Council online survey of 1,394 people from April 30 to May 7.

Around 34.8 percent of respondents said they would visit the mainland, Macau and Taiwan when travel restrictions are completely lifted. Another 34.4 percent of respondents said they would travel to southeast Asia.

Only 14.9 percent said they would visit northeast Asia, where popular destinations for Hongkongers like Japan and South Korea lie.

About 18 percent said they will travel abroad within one month after travel restrictions are lifted.

About 36 percent said they will not cut their travel budget in the coming year. About 16.8 percent even said they would increase it.

More than three quarters also do not mind paying more for a safer trip. About 34.4 percent said they are willing to pay 10 percent or more, while 31.7 percent would pay 20 percent or more and 9.9 percent said they would pay more than 30 percent.

About half would not accept quarantine both at destination and upon returning.

The survey also found that when deciding their destinations, more travelers were concerned about travel restrictions and quarantine periods, as well as hygiene measures, rather than price concessions, or flexible cancellation or refund policies.

But travelers did not mind taking the virus test as 41.5 percent of respondents said they were willing to be tested once a week during their journey. Some 22.3 percent said they could take the test once every three days, while 9.1 percent said they were willing to be tested every day.

Alice Chan Cheung Lok-yee, the council's executive director, said TIC will share its findings with its members and partners.

"We hope the information collected will facilitate their planning and preparation for the recovery," she said.

Tourism-sector lawmaker Yiu Si-wing said people would be concerned about safety and cost when deciding where to go after border restrictions are lifted.

He said the pandemic situation remains volatile in Japan and South Korea, while the mainland and Macau have fared the best.

"The economy in Hong Kong is not very good now so people may not consider traveling far away or to go somewhere expensive, and usually a family travels together so they need to think about the cost," Yiu said.

That came as Cathay Pacific told staff that vaccination could soon become a condition of employment.

In an internal letter to staff, the airline believed that vaccinations will be a requirement for crews to operate flights, and being vaccinated will be "an essential requirement of the job for any Hong Kong-based aircrew" in the future.

The letter also said 3,500 crew members have taken their first jabs and 2,000 of them have been fully vaccinated, but the number is still fewer than half of the crew members.

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