EPA/ADRIAN BRADSHAW

No quotas to be imposed on Chinese tourists coming to SAR – CE

Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng indicated today (Wednesday) that there are no plans to impose a limit in the number of Chinese residents who can come to the city for tourism.

It was revealed yesterday that the issuing of individual and group tourist visas for Zhuhai, Guangdong Province and the whole Mainland China will be resumed on August 12, August 26 and September 23, respectively.

Speaking before his departure for an official Macau SAR delegation visit to Beijing, Ho stated that the idea of establishing for the authorised number of Chinese tourists allowed to come to the SAR will not be discussed with the central government during his visit.

“We can see that without visitors Macau is facing great economic problems and a rise in unemployment. We are monitoring the situation and seeing the whole picture,” Ho stated.

Ho noted that at this moment it is not possible to assess the exact number of Chinese tourists wanting to come or that will come to Macau as tourist visas are reinstated, but notes health prevention measures would be put in place, including limiting the number of people allowed per bus.

The head of government also underlined there are mechanisms in place to interrupt the gradual border reopening in accordance with the risk in case Macau reports any local case.

“We have to continue with the pandemic prevention and control measures in a rigorous fashion, I can’t project what will happen but we will have policies in place,” he added.

Between January and July of this year, the unemployment rate of local employees rose from 2.4 per cent to 3.5 per cent this year.

Meanwhile, local GDP predictions for this year conducted by the University of Macau or the Economist Intelligence Unit to possible drop from 50 to 70 per cent drops, depending on the number of visitors that end up coming to the city.

Ho noted that considering not many months were left in the year, reinstating tourism visas was not likely to cause a large improvement in the local GDP for the second half of the year.

Individual and group visas for mainland residents had been suspended since January, and their resumption was long hailed by analysts as a crucial step to recover the local gaming and tourism industry, greatly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Local gaming revenues have dropped by 80 per cent year-on-year between January and July to some MOP35 billion, as visitors numbers went down by almost 90 per cent to about 3.2 million.

In 2019 Macau received 27.9 million visitors from Mainland China, with about 30 per cent coming through the Individual Visit Scheme, which covers residents from 49 Mainland cities.

Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng will lead an official delegation from to Beijing from August 12 to 17 to discuss improved cooperation between Guangdong Province and the Macau SAR in developing Hengqin and controlling the Covid-19 pandemic

[To be updated]