Easing of restrictions
Macau’s casino industry is expected to get a much-needed boost as tourism visas from the Chinese province of Guangdong to Macau are set to resume on August 26.
The Chinese National Immigration Administration announced on Tuesday that it will allow visas for both independent travel and package tours through the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS). Residents of the other mainland provinces will be able to get tourist visas to Macau starting September 23.
These dates are subject to change if the coronavirus pandemic situation worsens in Macau or the mainland. The exception to the reinstatement of these tourist visas is for those people living in mid-risk or high-risk coronavirus areas in China or for people who have been in these places within 14 days of applying for the tourist visa.
The Macau government announced on Monday that Zhuhai city would be resuming the issuance of tourist visas to the island starting August 12. The city, part of Guangdong province, has a population of about 1.7 million people.
Some normality returning
Non-tourism visas for travel between Guangdong and Macau started being issued once more on July 15. These visas are reserved for business trips, family matters, and study purposes.
Macau residents no longer need to quarantine for 14 days upon return from the mainland
People coming into Macau from mainland China and Hong Kong need to have a certificate showing they have tested negative for COVID-19 within seven days of traveling. Macau residents no longer need to quarantine for 14 days upon return from the mainland once they have proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
Green shoots appearing
The individual visit scheme program has been suspended since the end of January because of the pandemic. Industry insiders in Macau believe that the reinstatement of these tourist visas will play a key role in the recovery of Macau’s economy.
Casinos in the city closed for a 15-day period in February. Since reopening, revenues have been significantly lower compared to 2019 figures. The main reason for the drop is the extensive travel restrictions from places like mainland China and Hong Kong.
The island relies heavily on revenue from the casino and tourism industries. Extensive health and safety measures remain in place, with all casino staff getting tested for COVID-19.