Package tours from mainland China to Macau will resume from Monday, February 6, confirmed Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, in a Friday press conference.
The return of package tours from mainland China “will definitely give a significant boost to our tourism revival,” Mr Lei stated.
Also at the briefing, the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) director, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, said tour groups to Macau would be allowed to come from all of mainland’s provinces.
Since September last year that the Macau authorities and their mainland counterparts had been discussing details for the gradual resumption of package tours. Initially the package tour visitors would be from the provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Fujian, and the city of Shanghai. However, such partial resumption of package tours didn’t get the go-ahead.
The Macau government had announced in mid-December a new subsidy scheme for local travel agencies, with the aim of attracting more mainland China tourists and getting such visitors to extend their stay in the city. The subsidy plan, to be implemented this year, is being run by MGTO. The scheme offers up to MOP250 (US$31) per night per tourist from mainland China, for tour groups that comprise at least 10 people.
In a separate announcement on Friday, the State Council’s Covid-19 task force said the resumption of mainland package tours from February 6 applied to both Macau and Hong Kong markets.
It was also announced on Friday the full resumption of normal travel between mainland China and Hong Kong from February 6, with no Covid-related restrictions, including no quota for arrivals on either side.
The full reopening of borders between the mainland and Hong Kong had been touted by investment analysts as an important step to help boost tourism to Macau, and support the recovery of the city’s gaming industry. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, many mainland tourists travelling to Hong Kong would also visit Macau.
Macau’s January casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) grew 232.6 percent month-on-month, to MOP11.58 billion (US$1.43 billion). It coincided with the ending of mainland China and Macau’s respective ‘zero-Covid’ policies at the start of the month, that spurred a boom in tourism numbers.
Macau had just over 451,000 visitor arrivals in the seven days that mainland China counted as the Chinese New Year holiday for 2023.
In late January, the mainland authorities said they would resume overseas group tours organised by tour agencies and online travel companies from February 6. In a first phase, the authorities said they would allow group tours to 20 countries including Southeast Asian nations.
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