Macau’s daily volume of inbound visitors has been moderated by ongoing Covid-19 outbreaks in the neighbouring mainland China cities of “Zhuhai and Guangzhou” in Guangdong province, says a senior Macau tourism official.
Arrival numbers had recently hovered around “16,000” daily, said Hoi Io Meng, deputy director of Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), in comments reported on Thursday by Chinese-language media.
In late September, Macau’s leader, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng, had expressed hope that the resumption of electronic application for mainlander independent-traval visas to come to Macau, and a return of group tours, might be able to push the daily visitor volume to 40,000. Online applications resumed on November 1 for individual permits. Group tours had been expected from this month, but have yet to resume, having been paused since the start of the pandemic in early 2020.
Speaking on the sidelines of a public event on Thursday, the tourism bureau’s Mr Hoi said it was hoped events such as the weekend’s Macau Grand Prix meeting and coinciding Macau Food Festival, would help push daily volume “beyond 20,000”.
He said the November 1 restart on electronic processing of individual travel permits had manifested results in terms of improved air passenger volume from the mainland. He cited information from the city’s flag carrier Air Macau, but did not mention specific numbers.
Regarding group tours, a segment usually arriving by land from Zhuhai, Mr Hoi stated that from his understanding, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism was now in consultation with the country’s health authorities about Covid-19 prevention measures and how to resume such tourism business safely.
Initially the package tour visitors would be from the provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Fujian, and the city of Shanghai, known under the restart initiative as the “Four provinces and one city”.
A review on Friday by GGRAsia of the latest Macau government watch list, showed that only Zhejiang province currently had no localities with a Covid-19 risk factor. Under Macau’s prevention measures, any mainland community deemed as “high risk” for Covid-19 transmission is added to Macau’s quarantine-on-arrival list, applicable to inbound travellers from that place.
Although mainland China remains the only place with a largely quarantine-free travel arrangement with Macau, as of Friday, 29 of mainland China’s 31 provinces, autonomous regions and major cities had communities on Macau’s quarantine-on-arrival list.
A total of 14 cities in Guangdong province now has localities on Macau’s quarantine-on-arrival list. Recent additions are several neighbourhoods in Zhuhai city as its number of Covid-19 ‘positive’ cases had been rising this week.
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