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Travel & Leisure

Tourism-starved Hong Kong giving away half a million plane tickets

Financial hub launches global publicity campaign to repair tarnished image

Performers dance during "Hello Hong Kong" campaign to promote city tourism in Hong Kong. (Photo by Takeshi Kihara)

HONG KONG -- Hong Kong is handing out 500,000 airline tickets to foreign tourists in a global publicity push aimed at rebuilding an image battered by strict virus curbs and crackdowns on civil liberties.

The giveaway will kick off on March 1 with the free flights distributed through travel agents and overseas offices of Hong Kong's airlines in what officials on Thursday called the city's "biggest welcome" to foreign and mainland Chinese visitors.

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