“It’s the economy…”
The COVID-19 pandemic changed the world. We just don’t know how much yet.
MB January 2021 Special Report | The COVID-19 year
The Macau SAR coped with this unprecedented public health crisis with remarkable success.
However, the city’s economy is expected to have shrunk by at least half.
In Macau, too, there will be nothing like before, even if tourists start filling the streets and casinos from the second quarter of 2021 onwards.
The next generations will not forgive us if we have not learned the lesson and if we do not take advantage of the collective scare to change the economic model, which – based on the only existing industry – paralyzed the Region during 2020 and generated the greatest economic crisis in memory – we had to go back to the end of the 19th century to find similarities.
Even so, there is a substantial difference: Macau is today a very rich city, with large budget surpluses, which have made it possible to compensate for many of the economic and social problems.
In 1992 one of Bill Clinton’s leading campaign strategists invented the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid”.
Stupid is what we all will be if we don’t learn from mistakes and adjust the current economic model.
Over the next few pages, readers will find the most complete coverage of what happened this year, looking at the past, present and future.
Co-ordinated by João Paulo Meneses
Two weeks in February
In 2017, super-typhoon Hato swept though the city in a way that it prompted a debate about whether the casinos should have closed or not. Now the pandemic led to an unprecedented two-week blanket closure. It’s all new and all different with Covid-19. Also, it’s new for casinos and their gamblers.
The “dramatic collapse” of visitation
The main measures
Throughout this year, Macau received several praises from others, and several scientific articles cite MSAR as a reference. We added several of these compliments along with the few criticisms that were heard.
Not so well-oiled Bay Area
Mental health impact could be “pervasive and prolonged”
The deepest contraction
Many felt in the past that Macau had an excess of financial reserves and that it was destined to keep on piling up budget surpluses, without other objectives. In the end, the rainy-day fund came to the rescue in 2020. How will 2021 be?