China stops issuing exit visas for gamblers visiting Macau

China stops issuing exit visas for gamblers visiting Macau

Authorities from mainland China have introduced the ban as part of measures to contain the spread of Coronavirus.

China.- Authorities in mainland China have stopped issuing individual travel visas for mainland residents visiting Macau, as part of measures to contain the Coronavirus outbreak.

Individual visas to Macau previously issued by the mainland authorities remain valid, officials said in a press conference.

The individual visit scheme (IVS) allows mainland Chinese living in eligible areas of the country – typically the most economically developed places – to apply for a single-use travel visa to visit Macau or Hong Kong as independent travellers rather than as part of a tour group.

Macau welcomed a record 39.4 million visitors last year, with more than 27.9 million coming from mainland China.

IVS travellers accounted for 46.8 percent of the aggregate mainland visitor arrivals in Macau in 2019 and “possibly a higher proportion of gaming revenues” at the city’s casinos for that period, JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd analysts DS Kim, Derek Choi and Jeremy An wrote in a memo commenting on the IVS suspension.

They added: “Since package tours (23 percent of Chinese visitors) had already been suspended, Chinese visitors now need to obtain other types of permits/visas to enter Macau (such as transit, business or family visas, collectively accounting for 30 percent of Chinese visitors), which could be very inconvenient for gamblers.

“We wouldn’t be surprised to see the IVS suspension itself – while it lasts – hurt gross gaming revenue by over 30 percent (for both VIP and mass, though the impact should be relatively bigger for mass), and we see significant downside to February gross gaming revenue forecasts, as well as January,” the JP Morgan analysts added.

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