The Hong Kong government is trying to boost its dwindling tourism numbers by giving away free plane tickets to overseas visitors. Travelers can enter a lottery starting March 1 at the World of Winners international airport splash page to win the tickets, which are available to travelers in three waves: from March 1 through April 1, those traveling from Southeast Asia; from April 1 through May, residents of mainland China; and from May 1, people visiting from around the world.
The game, operated by the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), follows the traditional 6/49 matrix but has a few interesting twists. Players can select their own numbers or choose to let the computer or HKJC agent pick them for them. There are also a few additional ways to win prizes besides the main prize of HK$8 million per draw. The jackpot can rollover for up to three draws, meaning that the top prize could get even larger over time.
The giveaway is tied to a pandemic relief package from 2020, when the government purchased Mark Six tickets in an effort to keep the industry afloat during a difficult period. Tourism in Hong Kong has been dropping since then, with the city facing stiff competition from other Asian cities and a growing sense of political uncertainty in China that’s led to protests by pro-democracy activists. Those looking to win the free flights will have to pay all related taxes and surcharges, though, which can add up quickly.