China’s health authority has urged the country’s residents to avoid long-distance travel during the upcoming holiday period, this month and next. People should avoid travel out of their cities to reduce the spread of Covid-19, Wu Liangyou, a senior health official at the National Health Commission, said at a news conference on Thursday.
China’s State Council has designated September 10 to 12 inclusive as the holiday period for the Mid-Autumn Festival; and October 1 to 7 inclusive for the holiday encompassing National Day on October 1. The latter is often referred to by the tourism trade as autumn “Golden Week”, and has traditionally been an important earnings season for Macau casinos and tourist facilities.
In his Thursday comments, Mr Wu said the country’s local-level authorities should promote to the public the idea of either “travelling locally” or restricting journeys to “peripheral areas” relative to their home area.
He said additionally that the national authorities would implement from Saturday several Covid-19 countermeasures, which would stay in place until the end of October. Such measures included the need to present a ‘negative’ result for Covid-19 issued within 48 hours before boarding either a plane, train, ship, or long-distance buses.
Macau has made a number of modest steps recently in the direction of travel easing, but it is also subject to other factors, including Covid-19 outbreaks in mainland China – the city’s main source market for tourists – and countermeasures applied on that side of the border regarding outbound trips to Macau.
To date, mainland China remains the only place to have a largely-quarantine free travel arrangement with Macau.
Macau began late last month on the Chinese mainland its latest promotional drive for its tourism industry. But the head of a leading Macau tourism trade body said recently that Covid-19 testing rules for visitors from mainland China would need to be further eased, ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival and October Golden Week holiday periods, in order for the local industry to see any meaningful recovery.
Brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd said in a Monday memo that the recovery path for Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for September and October was “still uncertain and largely dependent on whether China can quickly contain the regional Covid outbreaks and resume travel.”
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