Six months after Hong Kong reopened to the world, the city still faces a steep climb to reclaim its place as Asia’s premier finance and tourism hub.

Led by former policeman and now Chief Executive John Lee, Hong Kong has been pushing hard to revive the city’s reputation with high-level events, a new visas programs to lure top talent, tax concessions for the wealthy and free airline tickets for visitors.

But the Hong Kong of old — self-proclaimed as Asia’s World City — will be hard to resurrect. Tens of thousands of high-skilled workers left to escape the city’s COVID-19 regime and a crackdown on freedoms after Beijing imposed a national security law in 2020. The city suffered its biggest workforce decline on record last year, causing major labor shortages.