Visitor arrivals to Macau during the entire Chinese New Year break totalled 90,615, down 65.3 percent from the prior-year period, according to official data. China’s State Council designated February 11 to 17 inclusive, as the Chinese New Year holiday period for 2021.
The city welcomed an aggregate of 13,232 visitors on the seventh and final day of the holiday period, a decline of 26.1 percent year-on-year, showed the official data.
The preliminary figures from the city’s Public Security Police were compiled by the Macao Government Tourism Office. The data is judged against the previous Chinese New Year period, from January 24 to January 30, 2020, just before the onset that February, of the Covid-19 pandemic that saw a slump in Macau’s tourist traffic.
The number of mainland visitor arrivals during the latest Chinese New Year period was 82,190, down 44.9 percent from a year earlier.
Mainland China is currently the only place to have a largely quarantine-free travel bubble with Macau. But mainland authorities had urged citizens not to travel beyond their home area during the holiday break, as a countermeasure against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The average number of visitor arrivals to Macau during this month’s week-long break stood at 12,945 a day, i.e., below a level forecast by the director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
In a February 10 press conference, the MGTO director, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, said Macau might have “16,000 to 20,000” arrivals per day during the Chinese New Year period.
On Wednesday, Ms Senna Fernandes said the Macau government had urged the mainland authorities to allow the return of automated services for processing the mainland’s exit visa system for trips to Macau, in particular for the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) that is utilised by those travelling independently rather than as part of tours.
Brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd stated in a recent note that it expected visitor arrivals to Macau “to increase only slowly over the next months.” The “key jump” in visitor arrivals “will come when visa processing switches back to digital and same-day, which may take some time,” added the institution.
On Thursday, the Macau government said that the list of mainland China places covered by mandatory quarantine on travellers arriving in Macau, was to be slimmed within hours. No place on the mainland was now considered “high risk” for Covid-19.
From Friday (February 19), only people from “medium-risk” areas in mainland China would be required to do a 14-day quarantine when arriving in Macau. The places include the city of Shijiazhuang in Hebei province; the municipality of Suihua in Heilongjiang province; the city of Tonghua in Jilin province; and the village of Gaodong in the Pudong New Area, in Shanghai.
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