Even if Zhuhai in the mainland’s Guangdong province drops its inbound quarantine rule by National Day on October 1, as currently scheduled, it might not help Macau’s inbound tourism trade for the so-called October Golden Week, said on Wednesday Ho Iat Seng (pictured), the city’s Chief Executive (CE).
This year’s October Golden Week runs from October 1 to October 7, and in pre-pandemic times the festive season has been a key period for Macau tourism.
JP Morgan Securities (Asia-Pacific) Ltd said in a Sunday note that without certainty on when the inbound quarantine to Zhuhai would ultimately be lifted, many Chinese tourists were likely to cancel their trips to Macau, “to avoid risk of being quarantined upon their return to the mainland”. Zhuhai is the main land crossing point between the mainland and Macau.
Macau’s leader Mr Ho said on Wednesday that an end to the inbound Zhuhai quarantine would not be a “big help” to Macau tourism.
“It means much more to those that have to cross the [Zhuhai-Macau] border frequently,” such as the Macau non-resident workers “that are living in Zhuhai or have family there,” he stated.
The lifting of Zhuhai’s inbound quarantine rule – at present scheduled for Friday – would happen only if Macau’s Covid-19 situation remained stable, Mr Ho noted in a press briefing. Macau’s authorities have reported a total of seven new Covid-19 cases between the weekend and Tuesday this week; six of them involving security guards employed at two of the city’s quarantine hotels.
The Zhuhai and Macau governments are yet to forge agreement on what should be the validity period of a ‘negative’ test for Covid-19 required for cross-border travellers, Mr Ho noted to the media.
“We will discuss with them tomorrow [Thursday] night, whether they can accept a seven-day validity period for the [Covid-19 negative] test result. We are striving for this to happen,” the Chief Executive said.
Mr Ho also noted that currently, Macau’s Covid-19 vaccination rate for the local population was about “50 percent”.
Reaching “80 percent” would make it “easier” for the local authorities to negotiate the resumption of inbound package tours from the mainland, and e-visa applications with the mainland authorities.
“In China, we [in Macau] have the lowest” vaccination rate, he stated.
The Macau Chief Executive has also noted that Guangdong province and Hong Kong were currently discussing easing of travel restrictions between the two places. Once that happened, Macau’s travel rules with Hong Kong were likely be eased “in tandem”, Mr Ho said.
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Chief commercial officer of testing and certification firm GLI