“Positive data” regarding mainland China and Macau’s containment of the Covid-19 virus would create a chance to “reconsider” policy on inbound trips to Macau, said Jane Jie Sun (pictured), chief executive of Trip.com Group Ltd, China’s largest travel services company, in an interview with GGRAsia.
Investment analysts have mentioned that eventual resumption of online applications for mainland China’s Individual Visit Scheme exit visas for Macau trips; and the return of package tours from the mainland, could be key drivers of recovery for Macau’s casino sector.
Ms Sun declined to offer a timeline for a possible comeback either of visas processed online or package trips.
She stated: “I think the big condition is the control of the virus. If the virus is well under control, and the death rate is at the minimum, then definitely it is possible” to reinstate such schemes.
“I am very glad to see that 1.1 billion people have already taken two shots” of Covid-19 vaccine in China, out of the country’s circa 1.4 billion population, said Ms Sun.
As well as strong takeup among mainland China residents of Covid-19 vaccine, with a programme for a third jab “under way”, the Omicron-variant death rate was “not exceeding what people expected, and the medical resources are not jammed up,” she noted.
“All these positive data give us the confidence that eventually the pandemic will be over… and we will be able to bring the high-end customers to Macau,” said Ms Sun.
The CEO took part on Thursday in the group’s “2021 Global Partner Summit”, held in Macau. Trip.com provides online travel agency services, offering hotel reservations, transport ticketing, package tours and corporate travel management.
The Trip.com CEO said the Macau government had done “an excellent job” during the pandemic.
“First of all, they have demonstrated the ability to contain the virus very effectively. Second, during this very challenging period, the Chief Executive led his team to mainland China, to hold ‘Macao Week’ events,” to promote the city to mainland residents, and to “team up” with Trip.com, in order to “bring the high-end customer” to Macau.
“I think all these investments and efforts will pay off,” added Ms Sun.
Brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd said in Monday commentary on the Macau tourism market, that a potential positive on the horizon was that starting from Friday (December 10), the Hong Kong government would launch its new ‘Hong Kong Health Code’ system.
It was “seen as a major step forward for quarantine-free travel opening” between Hong Kong and respectively mainland China and Macau, said the brokerage.
At the end of last month, the head of the Macao Government Tourism Office said Macau might see in 2022 “10 million” tourist visits.
Currently, mainland China is the only place to have a largely quarantine-free travel arrangement with Macau. The city had 6.08-million tourist arrivals for the first ten months of this year, up 32.2 percent on the same period of 2020.
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Aggregate number of Covid-19 cases in the latest Macau outbreak, as of Thursday-end