Macau needs mainland tourists, China’s border is always open – Scholar

The construction of Macau into a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure cannot leave aside the huge mainland market, and the central government is studying relaxed pandemic prevention policies towards the direction of free movement of people, the president of China Tourism Academy Dai Bin indicated today (Friday).

On the sidelines of the High-level Forum on Greater Bay Area Tourism Development 2022, co-hosted by Macau Institute for Tourism Studies and China Tourism Academy, Mr Dai stated that when discussing the development of Macau’s international tourism market and the construction of “a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure,” it is impossible to ignore the massive market on the mainland. 

“If we actually look at the market structure in 2019, the mainland market accounts for 72 per cent of Macau’s overall tourism market, the Hong Kong market accounts for 14 per cent, with a small market share of Taiwan, the real overseas market only accounts for 9 per cent of the total,” the he said.

Also, Mr Dai pointed out that the SAR’s economic diversification cannot be achieved without the tourism industry, and attracting more mainland tourists to visit Macau is “an urgent matter”.

Meanwhile, the scholar stressed that China’s border has never been closed to the outside world, and adjustments in the policies of the central government are “moving towards the direction of free movement of people”.

“Everyone is very concerned about when China’s border can be opened. What I want to say is that our border has never been closed,” Mr Dai noted. “In the past we had the “14+7” measure, now it has changed to a “7+3″ measure, and we are now exploring some pandemic control measures that are more conducive to the movement of people.”

In late June this year, the Chinese mainland reduced the isolation period for international travellers to “7+3” days, and overseas travellers are only required to undergo a seven-day quarantine at medical observation hotels plus three days of self-health monitoring. 

Before the relaxation in pandemic prevention measures was announced, overseas arrivals had to spend 14 to 21 days in centralized quarantine plus 7 days of self-health monitoring, depending on the city of entry and destination within the country.

Also, the scholar emphasised that there were not too many obstacles for mainland tourists to travel to Macau, even under the pandemic. 

“We should pay more attention to the changes in the visa policy, and we are also discussing more cooperation between the Mainland and Macau, such as the issue of juxtaposed controls at the border, cooperation with Hengqin, and the free movement of vehicles,” Mr. Dai added.

Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, also indicated at the forum that the authorities are currently discussing with the Zhuhai tourism department on the issue of attracting Macau residents or tourists from the mainland to visit the cooperation zone.

Another speaker at the event, the Chairman of China Tourism Group Travel Services Corporation Limited Hai Su Lei, suggested that the SAR should make good use of the tourist sources of the Greater Bay Area to strengthen the cooperation between Macau and the GBA.

The High-level Forum on Greater Bay Area Tourism Development 2022, discusses the opportunities in the development of the Guangdong-Macao In-Depth Cooperation Zone in Hengqin, especially the blending of Macau’s and Hengqin’s strengths in culture and tourism to propel the transformation of Macau into a World Centre of Tourism and Leisure.