Tightened health checks for travel between the mainland’s Guangdong province and Macau are expected to dent mainland-consumer demand for Macau tourism services including hotel accommodation, during the rest of this month, said the president of Macau Travel Industry Council, Andy Wu Keng Kuong, in response to an enquiry from GGRAsia.
The new controls are in response to new cases of Covid-19 infection reported in Guangdong.
Starting from 10am on Tuesday (June 8), people intending to enter Macau from Guangdong must present a ‘negative’ test certificate regarding Covid-19 infection, and it must have been issued within the prior 48 hours, Macau’s health authorities announced on Monday morning
Prior to this new requirement, such travellers had been required to present a negative Covid-19 infection test report issued within seven days of their intended arrival in Macau.
The tighter test requirement would in likelihood have a “huge impact” during June on Macau’s tourism trade, including hotel occupancy, Mr Wu told us.
Currently, he added, it seemed the impact was based on consumers opting to be cautious, rather than public policy changing regarding issuance of mainland visas for Macau.
“For now, we have not yet heard any changes to the existing tourist visa-issuance process on mainland,” Mr Wu said.
In the Monday announcement, Macau’s health authorities mentioned the possibility that in future those travelling between Guangdong and Macau might need to present a certificate showing they had been vaccinated against Covid-19, as well as needing a current test certificate.
Mr Wu told GGRAsia: “We still have about a month before the summer season, and we are confident that the mainland China authorities do have the ability to get the spread of Covid-19 infection in Guangdong under control soon.”
The travel trade representative had previously told GGRAsia of his association’s upbeat assessment for daily visitor tally and average hotel occupancy for the July and August, coinciding with school summer holidays and families’ outbound travel.
But he told GGRAsia on Monday it was “very difficult” currently, to make any forecasts with developments concerning the Covid-19 pandemic. “What we hope for now is that the spread of infection could be quickly curbed in Guangdong,” he noted.
The tightened immigration policy for Guangdong-Macau travel would “undoubtedly weigh on demand”, and “put a brake” on the city’s sequential recovery seen in the gaming and tourism trade over the past six months, suggested JP Morgan Securities (Asia-Pacific) Ltd, in a Monday memo.
“Guangdong is the single-largest feeder market for Macau (61 percent of mainland visitors year-to-date), and it also serves as a gateway to other provinces because more than 90 percent of mainlanders entered Macau via Zhuhai (using high-speed rail or Guangzhou/Zhuhai airports), while direct air travellers comprise only 6 percent”of visitor volume to Macau, wrote JP Morgan analysts DS Kim, Derek Choi, and Livy Lyu.
The JP Morgan team also said it expected a hoped-for Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau travel bubble might not happen “in the very near term”. Such travel easing would only occur once Guangdong province and Hong Kong respectively reported zero local infection cases for more than two weeks, the analysts suggested.
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Aggregate number of licensed junkets in Macau as of January 2022