SOME Dabawenyos are among those who won free flights to Hong Kong courtesy of the Hong Kong government, in a bid to boost their tourism industry after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Joey Ang and travel blogger Glen Santillan from Davao City were among the lucky 80,000 residents from Southeast Asia who won round-trip tickets from Cathay Pacific Air for the “Hello Hong Kong” Campaign of the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

Santillan and Ang shared that submitting their entry for the contest was not difficult but they had to queue for around 30 minutes before it was their turn. Santillan said he was around 7,000th in line.

Contestants also had to answer a short quiz to successfully join the giveaway and winners were announced on March 21 via email.

“I was very happy when I found out but I still had to pay for the taxes and fees of the airline upon booking and redeeming the plane tickets,” Ang told SunStar Davao.

The travel duration is from March to December of 2023 but winners had to cover their own allowance and accommodation.

Although it isn’t their first time visiting Hong Kong, Santillan and Ang said they’re very excited to go back. Both of them said they plan to visit the famous Hong Kong Disneyland and the gastronomical sights around the international financial hub.

“I really just wanna visit Hong Kong again, especially after the pandemic. So I’m very excited to go,” Santillan, who is the founder of the Escape Manila blog, said.

The Hello Hong Kong campaign was initiated to promote Hong Kong to international tourists since travel and Covid-19 restrictions are now more relaxed.

“The air tickets will be used to promote traffic recovery when the pandemic subsides. Hong Kong has opened up and we are eager to welcome visitors from different parts of the world,” Vivian Cheung, chief operation officer of Airport Authority Hong Kong.

Raymond Chan, regional director for Southeast Asia of Hong Kong Tourism Board added, “The Hong Kong Tourism Board is prepared to welcome visitors from Southeast Asia once again with great pleasure. I am confident that visitors will enjoy a unique and unforgettable travel experience when they return.”