(Xinhua/Cheong Kam Ka)

Daily visitation to Macau can reach pre-outbreak volume in late-Aug: tourism sector rep

The local tourism industry is hopeful that the daily visitation to Macau can achieve an average of around 20,000 travellers later this month, following the removal of the mandatory Covid-19 quarantine arrangement between Macau and nearby Zhuhai city on Wednesday afternoon, said a sector representative.

Andy Wu Keng Kuong, president of the Macau Travel Industry Council, told MNA, “It is a good start to see that the quarantine requirement between Macau and Zhuhai ofGuangdong [province] has been lifted, and we expect the border measures to be further relaxed should Macau continue to report no COVID-19 cases in the community in the coming days.”

Starting from 6 pm on Wednesday (August 3), any individuals entering Zhuhai from Macau are only required to present a negative Covid-19 nucleic acid test (NAT) test result carried out within the past 24 hours, the authorities from both sides announced.

This marks the end of the seven-day mandatory quarantine in hotels for people travelling to Zhuhai from Macau, a measure that had been enforced after the start of the community COVID-19 outbreak in Macau on June 18. The land border terminals between Zhuhai and Macau, including the Gongbei Border Gate, are the major gateways for Mainland Chinese visitors travelling to the city. 

Individuals entering Zhuhai from Macau must complete one more NAT within two days of arrival, and they should avoid using public transportation and gatherings in the first three days in Zhuhai, the authorities said. 

There is no change in the requirement for people travelling to Macau from Zhuhai, which still mandates individuals to present a negative NAT result obtained within the past 48 hours. 

“We expect the validity period of NAT resultfor arrivals to Zhuhai from Macau might be further loosened to 48 or 72 hours next week from the current requirement of 24 hours,” MrWu said. “The NAT validity requirement might be back to seven days in mid-August, a measure that was enforced prior to the June 18 outbreak in Macau, as long as the pandemic situation in Macau is under control.”

Macau has entered the six-day stabilisation period starting from Tuesday—when most anti-coronavirus restrictions implemented since the start of the community outbreak on June 18 are relaxed—as the city has reported no COVID-19 cases in the community since July 23. 

“After the requirement of seven-day NAT validity is reinstalled, we expect the daily visitation to Macau canaverage 20,000 later this month—the volume that was last seen before the June 18 outbreak—with visitors mostly coming from the nearby Guangdong province,” MrWu added. 

But given the pandemic development across different mainland provinces and cities at the moment, he addedthe tourism performance of Macau would remain lacklustre in the near future. 

Latest official figures show the number of visitors to Macau totalled nearly 3.47 million in the first half of 2022, or about over 19,100 travellers per day, down by 11.8 per cent from a year earlier. The latest tally only represented about 17 per cent of the pre-pandemic volume in the first half of 2019.

Macau has only maintained a largely quarantine-free travel arrangement with the mainland since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic more than two years ago.