Ho Iat Seng, Macau’s chief executive, has said the government is still negotiating with mainland China on resumption of the e-visa programme.
Macau.- Authorities in Macau are in talks with mainland China about restarting the electronic version of the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) but it seems nothing will change in the short term. The IVS was suspended completely at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was later reintroduced but only through in-person applications, which can take up to two weeks to be approved.
The return of group visas and the IVS are eagerly waited by Macau’s gaming and tourism industries to improve visitor numbers. Ho Iat Seng, Macau’s chief executive said the removal of travel barriers with Hong Kong and mainland China may happen next year. However, it will take more time to resume travel for foreign nationals.
Ho Iat Seng said: “If we open up the borders to foreign nationals, it’s going to be risky and we put ourselves in a position where we could be disadvantaged as we are stuck in the middle.”
The Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) has recently reported that average daily visits continue to increase. November 12 saw the highest figure of tourist arrivals since the beginning of the month with a total of 30,105 visitors.
The average daily rate of visitors was 25,433 between November 5 and November 11 inclusive. The increase, when compared to the first weeks of the previous month, was mainly attributed to relaxation in some travel restrictions.
However, analysts predicted the number of visitor arrivals won’t reach pre-pandemic levels until at least 2025. It was also revealed Macau’s non-gaming spending will also return to 2019 levels of nearly MOP64.08bn (US$7.9bn) by 2025.
Macau GGR down 18% in the second week of November
Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd has reported that Macau’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the second week of November was down 18 per cent when compared to the previous week, mainly due to “very low” VIP hold. Analysts revealed the city recorded an average daily revenue of MOP194m (US$24.1m) while in the previous week the figure was MOP235m (US$29.3m).
Macau’s GGR for November stands at MOP3bn (US$374m), with an average daily rate of MOP214m (US$26.6m), down 72 per cent when compared to pre-pandemic levels. However, the figure is up 52 per cent when compared to October.