As part of a fresh economic-stimulus package announced on Monday, the Macau government is to waive from May to December this year, an estimated MOP440-million (US$55.0 million) in tourism tax normally levied at 5 percent on services provided by local hotels, bars, karaoke venues and massage parlours.
Additionally, the local government is to spend up to MOP120 million – about US$15 million – during the April to December period, in subsidising local residents either for a single stay at one of the city’s hotels, or to take part in local tours, according to the Monday statement.
The moves are to counter the decline in spending on Macau tourism services and casino gambling, seen since the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We understand the difficulties” of the local hotel sector, said Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, in a Monday briefing on the new stimulus package.
“We are providing local residents a subsidy” of “MOP200″ each, on a one-time basis, for a local hotel stay, said Tai Kin Ip, director of the Economic and Technological Development Bureau, at the same briefing. “For this, we set no limit on the age,” of the beneficiary, he added.
The average occupancy rate of hotels and guesthouses in Macau declined by 4.6 percentage points year-on-year to 48.3 percent, during the week-long Chinese New Year break in mid-February, according to data published on February 19 by the Macao Government Tourism Office.
As of January 31 – the latest available data – Macau had 120 hotels and guest houses open for business, two fewer than the same period a year earlier, according to data from the Statistics and Census Service. Judged year-on-year, the number of available guest rooms went down by 6.1 percent to 36,000.
The Macau government will subsidise Macao ID holders to the tune of MOP280 each, to participate in a local tour. The Macau government had a tour-subsidy scheme last year to support local travel agencies. Itineraries including visits to non-gaming facilities inside some local casino resorts, proved popular in the earlier round of stimulus.
Last year’s tour scheme “saw some good results,” said Secretary Lei at Monday’s briefing.
The 2021 tour scheme would be “developing more travel routes,” which “aimed to help the local tour guides,” added Mr Lei.
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