Apr 06, 2023 Newsdesk Latest News, Macau, Top of the deck
The Macau tourism authority’s plan to subsidise inbound package tours from overseas is a “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 the city, said the leaders of two of the city’s travel trade chambers in remarks to GGRAsia.
The subsidy scheme for package tours from Taiwan and overseas is expected to be implemented by mid-April, stated Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) director, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, in comments to local media on Sunday. She did not mention at the occasion details of the subsidy scheme.
In early February, a senior MGTO official said the Macau government was planning to subsidise package tour travellers drawn from overseas at a rate of MOP350 (US$43) per head if they stay one night, or at MOP500 (about US$62) per head, if they stay for two nights or more.
The suggested subsidy amounts are “adequate” to help the local travel sector organise package tours from overseas, stated the travel industry representatives.
“Considering the [subsidy] scheme is drawing support from public money, I think the amount [suggested in February] is reasonable,” said Andy Wu Keng Kuong, president of Macau Travel Industry Council, in comments to GGRAsia.
Mr Wu added: “The number of overseas flights to Hong Kong and Macau have been increasing, and more low-cost carriers are set to serve the [Hong Kong and Macau] routes… if the subsidy scheme can be implemented by later this month, we can hopefully see its effect by May or June.”
GGRAsia approached MGTO to confirm the details of the subsidy scheme, but did not receive a reply by the time the story went online.
Macau’s tourism industry is currently preparing package tour products aimed at overseas markets that already have direct flights to the city, namely South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, noted Mr Wu.
“The sector is now structuring their [package] tours in accordance to the demand from these various [overseas] source markets,” said Mr Wu, adding that the city’s integrated resorts are a “must-see attraction” that have to be included in the package.
Integrating one or more destinations in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area as part of a Macau-bound package itinerary is currently a consideration in terms of marketing the destination to overseas travellers, Mr Wu added.
Wong Fai, president of Macau Leisure Tourism Services Innovation Association, told GGRAsia that the mulled subsidy scheme by MGTO could help revive the city’s tourism sector, as well as partially offset the increase in plane ticket and accommodation prices.
“We hope there will be conditions that allow the subsidy scheme [for overseas package groups] to be extended until the end of this year,” said Mr Wong. He said such extension would help the city’s travel trade devise the right travel products to overseas markets.
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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