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Macao resumes travel registration for Chinese mainland residents

09/24/2020 Source: Global Times

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Passengers arrive at Macao's border checkpoint at Hengqin Port on Aug. 18, 2020. (Xinhua/Cheong Kam Ka)

The government of Macao Special Administrative Region has resumed travel registration for Chinese mainland residents to visit Macao, including individual and group tours, from Wednesday, in a bid to boost its tourism industry.

Visitors will be exempted from 14-day quarantine if they prepare a negative nucleic acid test certificate valid for seven days and a "health code" with negative nucleic acid information, read an announcement on the official Sina Weibo account of the Macao Government Tourism Office.

But travelers who have visited Hong Kong 14 days prior to the visit must provide a negative nucleic acid test result within 24 hours, and must be subject to medical observation at a designated place for 14 days upon arrival. Those who have been abroad within 14 days before entry are not allowed to enter Macao.

According to statistics, visitors from the Chinese mainland accounted for nearly 70 percent of all visitors to Macao in 2018. Of the 227,000 inbound visitors to Macao in August, the number from Chinese mainland fell 92.4 percent year-on-year to 200,000, according to the Macao Government's Statistics and Census Bureau.

The resumption of travel follows the offer of consumption vouchers that are aimed at attracting tourists from the Chinese mainland to Macao. The Macao SAR government has issued a total of 290 million Macao pataca ($36.3 million) of consumption vouchers through WeChat from September 1, which will last until December 31.

Travel industry and gaming industry, Macao's pillar industries, have been hard hit by the COVID-19 epidemic.

According to data released by Macao's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau on September 1, gambling revenue in August fell by 94.5 percent year-on-year to 1.33 billion Macao pataca, marking the 11th consecutive month of decline. However, gaming revenues fell by only 1 percent in August from a month earlier as Macao gradually resumed group and individual travel.

The government of the Macao SAR has offered discounts on air tickets, hotels and consumption in a bid to expand the number of tourists, invigorate its economy and ensure employment, according to the Macao Tourism Office.