August 11, 2022 | By Bronwen Largier

From Thursday August 12, the Hong Kong government will ease the hotel quarantine requirement for international travellers from seven days to three but will bar travellers from entering event venues for seven days.

Hong Kong’s quarantine model is moving to a “3 + 4” model, in which arrivals – except from Mainland China or Macau – are required to spend three days in hotel quarantine followed by four days of “medical surveillance” at accommodation of their choosing. In the 10 days after arrival, travellers must also take five nucleic acid COVID tests (PCR or LAMP tests) and daily rapid antigen tests.

Under the “3+4” model, an Amber category has been added to Hong Kong’s Vaccine Pass, which will prevent travellers from entering group and mask-off venues, including event venues, indoor entertainment venues and restaurants, pubs and bars, effectively quashing any hope that the reduced quarantine requirement could stimulate visitation by international business events delegates.

The Hong Kong Exhibition & Convention Industry Association (HKECIA) has welcomed the change in entry requirements but wants the government to abolish quarantine entirely for business travellers.

“While the HKECIA appreciates Government’s direction of relaxing restrictions, our members and the exhibition and convention industry urge the Government to implement quarantine-free travel as soon as possible,” said HKECIA chairman Stuart Bailey.

“During this interim period, we hope the Government [will] relax restrictions for business travellers and allow overseas exhibition organisers, exhibitors and buyers with the Amber Code to run and attend exhibitions at event premises with their face masks on and appropriate social distancing and preventive measures.”

The association asserts that the local industry is starting to see international trade exhibitions relocating from Hong Kong to other countries which have less restrictive entry policies.

Although Hong Kong is part of China, it is a designated “special administrative region” allowing it to be governed by somewhat more relaxed rules than Mainland China, where most international travellers are still barred from entry and those who can enter are subjected to at least seven days of centralised quarantine.