(Xinhua/Cheong Kam Ka)

Visitor numbers drop 19pct in August

The number of visitors to Macau fell by 19 per cent in August in annual terms but soared compared to July, when the region experienced the worst outbreak of covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, it was announced today (Tuesday).

The territory received about 331,400 visitors in August “due to the easing of restrictive measures at the Zhuhai-Macau border posts in early August”, compared with less than 9,800 in July, the Directorate of Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC) indicated.

During the outbreak, which began on June 18, tourists coming to Macau would have to undergo mandatory quarantine upon returning to mainland China, a measure that was lifted on August 3.

The average period of stay for tourists was 5.4 days, growing by 1.5 days in annual terms, “given that some tourists extended their departure from Macau until August, because of the previous impact generated by the pandemic”, explained the DSEC, in a statement.

The overwhelming majority of visitors (over 290,000) came from mainland China.

Contrary to what happens for those who enter through the border with mainland China, those arriving from abroad or from Hong Kong continue to be required to fulfil a seven-day quarantine in a hotel, followed by three days of “medical self-surveillance” that can be carried out. at home.

As of September 1, Macau has allowed the entry of citizens, including tourists, from 41 countries, including Brazil, the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

In April of this year, the SAR lifted border restrictions on university students and foreign education professionals, such as Portuguese teachers.

On September 12, the deputy secretary general of Forum Macau, Paulo Espírito Santo, regretted that citizens of Portuguese-speaking Africa were excluded from the list of countries whose nationals are allowed to enter the territory.

Macau faced June and July the worst outbreak of covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, having registered six deaths and more than 1,800 infected during that period. The territory tightened control measures, with an impact on the local economy, which is heavily dependent on mainland Chinese tourism and the gaming industry.

In the first eight months of the year, Macau received 3.8 million visitors, 25.8 per cent less than in the same period in 2021 and 86 per cent less than in 2019, before the start of the pandemic.