Hong Kong is slowly but surely reopening to visitors, though it’s going to take a lot more progress before I visit again.
Hong Kong will once again welcome foreigners
While many destinations have had extreme travel bans during the pandemic, Hong Kong has really taken it to the next level. In addition to being closed to foreigners for over two years, Hong Kong has required up to a 21-day quarantine in a facility, and has even banned airlines that imported coronavirus cases (as if airlines are somehow to blame).
Hong Kong has over the past several weeks experienced a huge omicron wave, with almost unheard of per-capita case numbers. With the realization that a zero-tolerance approach toward coronavirus doesn’t work, restrictions have been eased, and that’s a trend we’ll continue to see. As of May 1, 2022, Hong Kong will once again open to foreigners:
- Foreigners will be allowed to enter Hong Kong, which hasn’t otherwise been possible
- However, a one week quarantine in a designated facility is still required, along with extensive testing (just as is the case for residents returning to Hong Kong)
This is a far cry from a tourism reopening, though it is a step in the right direction. Foreigners being able to visit with a one week quarantine is more reasonable than not even being able to visit with the three week quarantine that was previously in place for residents.
I could see this being useful for some people conducting essential in-person business, or for those wanting to reconnect with family after being separated for over two years. But aside from that, I don’t think this will drum up much demand.
When will Hong Kong reopen without quarantine?
There’s no denying that Hong Kong is moving in the right direction. In April, Hong Kong ended its ban on airport transit passengers, and also shortened the mandatory quarantine period for residents to one week.
This is huge progress, though admittedly Hong Kong is still way behind places like Singapore, which now welcome vaccinated travelers with virtually no restrictions.
You’d think that with the coronavirus outbreak we just saw in Hong Kong, the government would abandon its zero-tolerance coronavirus strategy, realizing it doesn’t work.
But it’s also clear that Hong Kong’s approach isn’t just about public health, but the pandemic has also been used for mainland China to shut off Hong Kong from the rest of the world, and exert more control. It’s hard to have an educated guess as to when (or even if) Hong Kong will reopen without quarantine, since this seems more political than anything.
Hong Kong has historically been my favorite city in the world. It’s such a dynamic place. I just fear that it’ll never be the same…
As of May 1, 2022, foreigners will be able to enter Hong Kong again for the first time in over two years. The catch is that a one week quarantine will still be required. While I can’t imagine this will drum up much interest from tourists, it’s at least a step in the right direction. Now the big question is when (or if?) Hong Kong will eliminate its quarantine requirement.
When do you think Hong Kong will reopen to visitors without quarantine?