The head of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, says the bureau maintains a “cautious” outlook on the number of visitors likely to be coming to Macau, despite the resumption on Wednesday (August 26) of exit visas for Guangdong residents.
Guangdong residents beyond Zhuhai can now apply for Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) exit visas, while IVS applications for residents of designated cities in the rest of China will restart on September 23. The IVS scheme and tour group visa scheme had been suspended in late January, to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus linked to Covid-19
In comments to the local media on Tuesday, Ms Senna Fernandes said the tourism authority was not expecting a sharp increase in the influx of visitors from Guangdong province, as the tour visa scheme for escorted-group visits to Macau was yet to be resumed.
She also pointed out that it was currently easier to travel between provinces in mainland China, than it would be from Guangdong to Macau. For inter-province travel on the mainland, people were not required to show a nucleic acid test certificate confirming a negative result for Covid-19. To enter Macau, any person coming from the mainland will need such a certificate under current rules.
“We are still not able to receive tours [from the mainland]. On the other hand, visitors [to Macau] have to do a nucleic acid test,” said the MGTO director.
Ben Lee, managing partner of IGamiX Management and Consulting Ltd, said in comments to GGRAsia, that investors and others should be cautious about relying on too-rapid a comeback of Macau gambling revenues once tourists from greater Guangdong and the rest of mainland China start to return.
On Tuesday, the head of MGTO gave some commentary on the resumption earlier this month of IVS visas for people from Zhuhai, the mainland city next door to Macau. “Even with the resumption [of individual visas] from Zhuhai, on the best day we had just over 9,000 visitors,” stated Ms Senna Fernandes.
“Because of this very serious pandemic, people fear the possibility of contracting the virus. We still have a lot of work to do, specifically in terms of promotion … the most important thing is to make people feel safe when traveling to Macau,” she added.
Brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd said in a Monday memo that the resumption of exit visas for residents of Zhuhai to visit Macau for tourism has had “no impact yet” on the fortunes of the Macau casino industry.
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