Flight searches out of Hong Kong jump 290% with Bangkok top pick

Flight searches out of Hong Kong jump 290% with Bangkok top pick

Travellers are seen at the departure hall of Hong Kong International Airport on Monday. Bangkok is the most popular destination for online searches on flights out of Hong Kong. (Photo: Bloomberg)
Travellers are seen at the departure hall of Hong Kong International Airport on Monday. Bangkok is the most popular destination for online searches on flights out of Hong Kong. (Photo: Bloomberg)

Online searches for flights out of Hong Kong surged by 290% in the 24 hours after the government announced shorter hotel quarantine requirements on Monday, according to travel company Expedia Group.

The top-trending destination was Thailand’s capital Bangkok, followed by Osaka in Japan, with flight searches jumping tenfold for both from the previous seven-day average, Expedia said. Travel within Asia was the most popular -- strong demand was also seen for flights to Seoul, Phuket and Singapore. 

“Whilst the reduction of quarantine requirements has clearly played a key role in inspiring renewed travel interest, Expedia’s flight search data has indicated that Hong Konger’s interest in the resumption of overseas travel has been gradually picking-up over the course of the last six months,” Lavinia Rajaram, Expedia’s head of public relations in Asia, said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Interest in international flight searches on Expedia.com.hk grew 60% in April-June from the previous quarter, Rajaram said. 

Hong Kong has cut mandatory hotel quarantine to three nights from seven, with arrivals needing to take daily Covid-19 tests for the subsequent four days and restricted from so-called high risk places such as restaurants. Still, the easing lags most of the rest of the world, and arrivals run the risk of being sent to government isolation centres if they test positive. That’s left many calling for further loosening.  

Searches for shorter breaks of four to seven days in Asia doubled after Monday’s announcement, according to Expedia, which said such trips are “clearly in the minds of Hong Kong travelers in the immediate term, with end of summer escapes in the next two to three weeks proving popular.”

A study in June found that the main factors holding back Hong Kong residents from overseas travel were concerns over complex quarantine requirements and the high cost of quarantine, Expedia said. 

China’s largest online travel agency, Trip.com, said Tuesday that bookings for flights to Hong Kong jumped 249% after the new quarantine rules were announced, while outbound orders rose 176% from the previous day. 


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