Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said on Thursday that she was “hopeful” package tour business from mainland China (pictured in a file photo) could restart in “early November”.
Her comments to local media were on the sidelines of a public event. Ms Senna Fernandes said that the city’s government had been communicating with mainland authorities regarding Covid-19 prevention and contingency measures to enable such trade.
The discussions included what steps would be taken in the event of another Covid-19 outbreak in Macau subsequent to tours restarting, and how the local authorities would manage any mainland package-tour visitors that were already present in the city at such a moment, the tourism bureau boss said.
Macau’s Chief Executive, Ho Iat Seng, had mentioned in late September – citing discussions with mainland authorities – possible resumption of package tours from the mainland, as well as the electronic issuance of exit permits for mainland travellers to visit Macau, in “late October to early November”.
Mr Ho had noted that initially the package tour visitors would be from the provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Fujian, and the city of Shanghai.
Mainland China authorities had for a while paused altogether the issuance of individual travel visas for Macau, starting in January 2020, following the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic. Tour groups from mainland China to Macau were suspended around the same time.
Issuance of individual visas resumed later in 2020, but for in-person applications only.
Mainland China is the only place to have a largely-quarantine free travel arrangement with Macau. Only mainlanders from so-called high-risk places for Covid-19 infection within the Chinese mainland are required to undergo quarantine-on-arrival in Macau.
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