Macau’s appeal to international visitors could be enhanced if there were a special visa system that permitted them entry not only to Macau but also to the neighbouring mainland China district of Hengqin island (pictured), during a single foray to the region.
Macau Travel Industry Council president Andy Wu Keng Kuong, said such an arrangment – with multiple entries and exits permitted for both destinations in a single holiday or business trip – could boost average-length-of stay in Macau by visitors from overseas, His comments were to local Chinese-language newspaper Macao Daily News.
Currently, Macau and mainland China have distinct visa policies and procedures for overseas visitors.
Nonetheless, Macau and Hengqin had complementary tourism offers, and this should be made use of now that Macau’s six casino operators were exploring various new non-gaming developments, Mr Wu noted. He was referring to investment pledges made by the gaming operators as part of their respective new 10-year concessions. Macau also has aspirations to attract more casino customers from overseas.
Mr Wu said a two-centre destination approach for Macau – which specialises in gaming resorts, and Hengqin – which has developed themed non-gaming attractions and meetings facilities – could potentially appeal to tourists from the likes of Japan and South Korea.
Macau government representatives have been in talks with their mainland counterparts on possible visa collaboration for foreign visitors, according to comments attributed to Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) officials last week.
In 2019, the trading year prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, circa 92.2 percent of Macau’s 39.4-million inbound visitors were from either mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan, according to Macau’s Statistics and Census Service.
Macau should explore ways of enabling a greater number of events to be hosted jointly by the city and Hengqin, said recently Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, chairman and chief executive of Macau casino complex operator Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd.
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