Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes (pictured in a file photo), director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), says the government is targeting to complete the study on the feasibility of imposing a tourist tax in the city “by the fourth quarter” this year. The official said on Tuesday that the possible introduction of such tax required “prudent consideration” from the authorities.
Ms Senna Fernandes said in March that the Macau government would look into why some tourism destinations elsewhere in the world had introduced tourist taxes, and the outcome of such policies. The tourism body ran a public opinion poll on the tourist tax topic from May 20 to June 20.
The majority of opinions collected in the survey about the introduction of a tourist tax in Macau suggested that the amount should be set at over MOP100 (US$12.42).
In her Tuesday remarks to local reporters, Ms Senna Fernandes stated that the potential introduction of a tourism tax in Macau required “prudent consideration,” especially when taking into account external economic factors and what seemed to be a moderation in tourism spending by mainland Chinese travellers. The study on the tourist tax subject will serve as a reference to the government’s decision, added the MGTO director.
The idea of a tourist tax in Macau was to tackle issues relating to the city’s tourism capacity, Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam Chon Weng had mentioned at a Tourism Development Committee in late May.
Macau was on course for receiving more than 38 million tourists this year, MGTO’s Ms Senna Fernandes said earlier this year. The city’s visitor arrivals tallied over 27 million in the first eight months of 2019, up 18 percent year-on-year, according to official data.
The local travel industry should seek to enhance the appeal of Macau as a tourism destination and encourage extended stay from visitors, Ms Senna Fernandes said on Tuesday.
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Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li and Shirley Yang
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