Even if Hong Kong drops its inbound quarantine soon, as hinted on Tuesday by that city’s Chief Executive, John Lee Ka-chiu, it would make little difference to Macau’s tourism sector, as long as Macau maintains its quarantine on inbound travellers from overseas and from Hong Kong, said Andy Wu Keng Kuong, president of the Macau Travel Industry Council.
His remarks were carried on Wednesday by Chinese-language news outlet Macao Daily News.
Macau presently has a “seven plus three” policy: seven days of hotel quarantine, followed by three days of so-called “self-management” of health, whereby the person’s Macau digital health code is ‘yellow’, meaning they cannot enter a variety of places, including casinos.
The Macau travel trade’s Mr Wu said that even if Hong Kong adopted a “zero plus seven” policy inbound – no quarantine but seven days of self-management with Covid-19 testing and some restrictions on venues that people can visit – it would “not be helping much” relative to Macau.
A number of investment analysts has said that prior to the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020, up to 15 percent of Macau’s annual casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) was coming from Hong Kong visitors.
Mr Wu said one possible way for Macau to attract more visitors via Hong Kong – including Hong Kong residents – would be a reduction of Macau’s quarantine days to “five or fewer”.
Though the trade boss also noted a key consideration for the Macau government was risk of community spread of Covid-19.
From September 14 to 20, Hong Kong had an average of 2,005 cases daily, according to the city’s government. Macau has had fewer than 2,000 cases across the more than two-and-a-half years of pandemic alert.
Mainland China is the only place to have a largely quarantine-free travel arrangement with Macau.
Earlier this month, China’s National Health Commission called on mainland residents to avoid long-distance travel during the upcoming holiday period surrounding National Day, on October 1, to avoid the risk of spreading Covid-19.
China’s State Council has designated October 1 to 7 inclusive for the holiday. 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.
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