Authorities in mainland China’s Guangdong province have retrospectively confirmed that they resumed – on July 15 – the issuance of non-tourism-related visas, for travel to neighbouring Macau. The rest of the provinces in mainland China are to follow suit with exit visas for Macau-bound travel – for purposes other than tourism – starting on August 12.
That is according to a statement from authorities in Guangdong, quoting guidance from China’s State Council, and made public on Thursday.
Non-tourism-related visas to Macau issued by mainland China provinces include visas for business trips or for study purposes, or for travel related to family matters. Exit visas for package tour trips, or for independent travel under China’s Individual Visit Scheme, also known by its acronym IVS, are still not being issued for now.
Thursday’s statement by the Guangdong authorities made no reference to when IVS visas or tour package visas to Macau could be resumed. A number of brokerages has said in notes issued earlier this week that IVS visas could make a comeback – possibly in a phased manner – at some point in August or in September.
IVS visas were suspended in late January, as part of Covid-19 containment measures, with tour group visas paused around the same time as the IVS ones. A return of IVS visas has been mentioned by industry insiders as a key element in Macau’s casino market recovery.
Thursday’s announcement by the Guangdong authorities is the latest step in incremental easing of travel between Guangdong province and Macau.
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"The most worrying [thing] is whether [mainland] China will again tighten the issuance of travel visas [for visits to Macau]"
Luiz Lam Kai Kuong
Macau junket investor