Apr 06, 2023 Newsdesk Latest News, Macau, Top of the deck
The Macau government is launching a new subsidy scheme for local travel agencies, with the aim of attracting to the city more tourists either from overseas or Taiwan, and getting such visitors to extend their stay. The subsidy plan is being run by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
The scheme offers travel agencies up to MOP500 (US$61.8) per night per tourist from “international markets”, for tour groups that comprise at least four people, the tourism office told GGRAsia in an emailed reply.
Tours involving visitors coming from Taiwan can qualify for a subsidy of up to MOP400 per person. In this case, each tour group must have at least 10 people for it to be eligible for such grants.
A similar subsidy scheme covering tour groups from mainland China has already been in place since the start of January, It is scheduled to run until the end of 2023.
In February, a senior MGTO official had said the Macau government was planning to subsidise package tour travellers drawn from overseas. Earlier this month, bureau director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes had told local media a subsidy scheme for package tours coming from either Taiwan or overseas was likely to be implemented by mid-April.
The announcement has been seen as “much needed” support for the local travel trade, particularly at a time when it seeks to revive demand from source markets that have direct flights to Macau, according to leaders of two of the city’s travel trade chambers.
Regardless of whether the tour group is coming from overseas or from Taiwan, each group must be received by local travel agents in Macau, which will handle the tour itinerary and the lodging in licensed hotels. Only tours completed between April 15 and July 15 are eligible for the new subsidy scheme.
Tour groups consisting of travellers from international markets are eligible for a MOP300 grant per head for the first night of stay, up to a maximum subsidy per head per trip of MOP500, if the group stays two consecutive nights or more.
For the groups coming from Taiwan, the available subsidy stands at MOP250 per head for the first night, up to a maximum subsidy of MOP400 per person for stays of two consecutive nights or more.
According to Macau government data, the city had 1.59-million visitor arrivals in February, a major year-on-year improvement coinciding with the lifting in early January of most Covid-19 countermeasures in mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong. In February, visitors to Macau from overseas accounted for 2.8 percent of the total, or about 44,500 arrivals.
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