Macau scraps plans to impose tourist tax

Macau tourism severely impacted by crisis.
Macau tourism severely impacted by crisis.

Coronavirus crisis sees Macau authorities drop motion to implement a tax on tourists visiting the city.

Macau.- Macau authorities have scrapped a planned tourist tax due to the Coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the world.

Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, said the COVID-19 outbreak had impacted the tourism industry and any plans to introduce a tourist tax were now on hold.

In the plenary session of the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, Fernandes said the government would no longer consider its tourism tax policy given the current state of the industry.

“It would not be an appropriate time to talk about the tourism tax anymore,” she said. “We should think about how to recover our tourism market, and think about which guest markets can come back quickly and focus on it.”

Fernandes suggested the mainland China market could recover soon but said the tourism authority would also target more foreign markets once Macau’s tourism industry begins to stabilise.

Last year, the MGTO launched an investigation and public consultation into the idea of implementing a tourist tax, which is imposed in cities such as Venice, Italy.

The concept is seen as a possible means of alleviating congestion in Macau due to the mass influx of visitors linked to the gaming industry.

But the tourism sector has been significantly impacted since the crisis began. Last week, Macau banned all foreign arrivals from entering the SAR, with only mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan residents granted entry.

With Guangdong also declaring mandatory quarantine on anyone entering the province from Macau, including Guangdong province residents, Macau visitor numbers have plummeted to less than 300 per day.

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