I want to be optimistic that I will finally make it to the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament this April, I really do. The messaging I am seeing right now is a mixed bag, though.
First, there’s this statement from Cathy Pacific about removing restrictions for inbound international visitors to Hong Kong, likely a biased source since their business depends on international travelers:
“Cathay Pacific welcomes the Hong Kong SAR Government’s latest measures to facilitate travel to Hong Kong, especially the decision to remove the Amber Code restrictions under the Vaccine Pass for inbound persons entering Hong Kong”
However, this is in contrast to articles I am reading about the current worsening COVID situation in China as it relaxes it’s Zero-COVID policies in the wake of ongoing protests.
“The World Health Organization is concerned about a spike in COVID-19 infections in China and is supporting the government to focus its efforts on vaccinating people at the highest risk across the country, the head of the U.N. agency said on Wednesday.”
I will be in contact with my travel agency over the next six weeks to determine if I am going to attempt to make the trip or request a refund. I suspect the situation in China will worsen over the winter, not improve.
I had been in contact with my travel agency prior to this announcement. Their response did not seem overly enthusiastic:
We have made a note that you are keen to book this event using your existing credit. Should that not be possible in 2022 it will certainly be valid for the Hong Kong 7’s in 2023 which we expect will be back to its usual March/April spot.
Considering that the HKRU has not yet announced ticketing details I have no idea if I will be able to attend in November. At this time I would say the chances are very low.
Update: The HKRFU published a F.A.Q. page with questions that fans may have about this year’s tournament. Ugh. “We are confident we will see strong local support for all the participating teams [emphasis mine]. Doesn’t sound like they’re very optimistic about a strong foreign turnout nor do they have any idea of how the quarantine rules will look in November. Even the teams will have to stick to hotel “bubbles” and won’t be able to interact with their fans. I guess this means I will have to wait until next April to attend, assuming there is not a worldwide monkeypox or polio pandemic by then.
Just when we thought the world was starting to normalize a bit and had planned trips to the next two stops on the HSBC Rugby Sevens World Series, the omicron outbreak has forced the postponement of both the Canada Sevens and Los Angeles (USA) Sevens tournaments.
Canada Sevens has moved from February 26-27 to April 15-16. It turns out this is Easter weekend and I have already read some gripes online about this conflict. I personally could not care less. I’m happy we have secured our field side premium seats — we have two extra seats in case anyone reading this is looking for tickets.
Luckily, we had a bit of tip about the Canada Sevens and I was able to reschedule that hotel and airfare accordingly earlier this week. I didn’t have any issue with the L.A. travel plans, either, but only discovered the new dates when the press releases were posted online.
I have to reschedule my flights with United for a third time and contact the travel agency to push my accommodation and event ticket funds forward anther year. Yes, these are first world problems, for sure, but still very disappointing to me. My “normal life goalposts” keep moving further away. I had already begun preliminary planning to go to the Rugby World Cup Sevens in South Africa in September 2022. Next year is either going to be a hell of a travel year or continued disappointment. I will continue to hope for the best outcome but plan for the worst.
Awoke Wednesday morning to news that the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is scheduled to resume in May, with stops in London, Paris, Vancouver, Singapore, Cape Town, Dubai and Hong Kong in 2021.
Some notable missing stops are Australia and New Zealand, as well as Los Angeles and Glendale for the USA Sevens stops. At least Canada Sevens is on the schedule, though!
Shortly after this announcement by World Rugby, USA Rugby announced there will be a women’s and men’s stop in Los Angeles in June but it will not be part of the formal Sevens Series.
Hopefully, the Southern California area will be clear enough by late June that fans can attend the matches at Dignity Health Stadium. The Super Fans have already booked hotel reservations nearby in anticipation… can you tell we miss rugby a lot?
Also, how awesome is it (for me, at least) that this is the second time in a week that the Hong Kong stop had been mentioned as definitely occurring in November? Not getting my hopes up yet to avoid more disappointment, but if the Olympics take place in Japan this summer I think it will be safe to say that Hong Kong will happen, too.
Another postponement is disappointing for sure. I am still healthy and employed, so in the big picture I can endure an additional seven months wait to attend. It appears there will be widespread application of the COVID-19 vaccine by summer here in the United States which will help things slowly return to normal.
I feel guilty complaining about something as petty and privileged as having to wait another half year to take my trip, but I don’t have much left to anticipate these days. This Hong Kong trip was my lifeline to a happier future where I could watch rugby in person again and travel internationally. That’s been cruelly kicked down the street again.
The part of all this I dread most is getting United Airlines to reschedule my trip again without even more change fees. Wish me luck.
As I relayed previously, I was planning to go to the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens tournament back in early April this year. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the organizers to postpone the tournament to mid-October. I will admit that I was managing my excitement for this rescheduled trip pretty well until the past two weeks when I started feeling wanderlust for traveling again. I’m sure that the stay-at-home orders and cabin fever played into that longing, but I am typically the type of person who loves to travel and cannot wait for my next trip, regardless of where it takes me.
Instead of attending the 2020 Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, it appears I will be attending the 2021 edition next April… assuming that the world is not completely on fire by then (COVID-19, Chinese security laws and protests, etc.).
While Keith Prowse Travel has already emailed to let me know they’re communicating with all the involved vendors and will advise me when they know how the transition to the 2021 tournament will proceed, I was already able to change my flights on United to the new dates — online, without talking to a person in a call center, with no change fees.
It doesn’t look like I will be traveling anywhere internationally in the meantime. The U.S. is shunned worldwide for our lackluster control of the coronavirus outbreak and the E.U. has already banned Americans visiting this summer. I can’t even visit my family in Oklahoma for the foreseeable future as it’s one of the current hot spots in the South… plus, it’s Oklahoma. The dogs and I will have to stick to local trips in Colorado, which is fine. Unfortunately, Fabi can’t hike any longer so we’ll have to “car camp” or rent a cabin.
I was scheduled to travel to Hong Kong in April to watch the Hong Kong Sevens rugby tournament. It’s a “bucket list” trip for me and I was looking forward to visiting Hong Kong for the first time. I also purchased the trip as a gift to myself for my fiftieth birthday, so I splurged and chose the swankiest ticket package available short of renting out a suite. I’m staying at a fancy hotel nearby, too. I enjoy traveling and try not to get too excited for visiting new places, but I have to admit I was starting to become giddy with excitement for this trip.
After the beginning of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19 as it is now officially named, I scoured the news for any indication it would impact my trip. I was nervous when U.S. airlines stopped servicing mainland China, and when Untied Airlines announced they were reducing flights to Hong Kong to once daily I was even more concerned. The director of the Hong Kong Rugby Union adamantly announced two weeks ago that they were holding the tournament as planned in April despite the outbreak, noting the tournament went ahead in 2003 during the SARS outbreak.
This past Wednesday evening I was browsing through my Instagram feed when I came across a post from the Dubai Rugby Sevens account consoling the Hong Kong and Singapore Sevens tournaments regarding the postponement of their respective tournaments.
I could not find any information regarding the postponement on any of the sites I expected (Hong Kong Sevens or World Rugby) to corroborate this information. Interestingly, that Instagram post was subsequently deleted by Dubai Sevens — probably because the decision had not been officially released at that point. I did come across a New York Times article suggesting the tournament would be postponed, though.
It wasn’t until the next morning (in the U.S.) that the official announcement was released by World Rugby and the Hong Kong Rugby Union that the tournament was being postponed until 16-18 October. This was disappointing news for sure but definitely necessary to preserve the health of the players, staff and the fans.
I had to begin the process of shifting my travel reservations to the new dates. I purchased my tournament tickets and accommodation package via Keith Prowse Travel out of Australia. I have greatly enjoyed working with my agent Dave there and was planning to reach out to him regarding the process of rescheduling… when he called me and confirmed everything was going to be handled appropriately. Since my package did not include airfare I still needed to change my flights with United. I decided to call UA on the phone to speak with someone in person. UA posted flight waivers for existing booked flights but those waivers only accommodated rebooking into June. I wasn’t really in the mood to pay a change fee for my fare because the HKRU moved the tournament to October. When I first contacted a representative at United I was informed that because the changed flight date was outside the wavier period it would potentially cost me US $200 to change the dates, but the rep did “get permission” to waive that fee due to the special circumstances. I am unsure who gave him this permission but I won’t complain. In the end I was informed the change would cost about US $5 to process… but I have not yet seen that transaction come across on my AMEX account.
I still look forward to visiting Hong Kong in October and hope that I can contain my excitement until then. I also hope that there are not many more deaths from people suffering in the region where COVID-19 is running rampant. This outbreak will have a major impact on travel to the region.
I travelled out to San Francisco for the Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament. I had a fantastic time at AT&T Park watching the best sevens rugby teams in the world play for the title of World Champion in Sevens Rugby. The New Zealand men and women’s teams both won the title this year.
I also explored the Mission District of San Francisco and some of the local craft breweries, as one would expect me to do.