DestinationsThe government’s consideration for a tourist tax to balance potential overtourism has been shelved as the territory focuses on bolstering the tourism industry

No tourist tax for Macau

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Macau focuses on supporting the tourism industry rather than impose a tourist tax on visitors to the territory
Macau focuses on supporting the tourism industry rather than impose a tourist tax on visitors to the territory

MACAU - Macau’s government has shelved a proposal to levy a tourist tax on the territory, a move floated as a means of reducing over tourism.

The breakdown it anticipates includes 18.46 million visitors from mainland China, 4.97 from Hong Kong and 660,000 from Taiwan. Looking further afield, strong inbound visitor numbers are expected from South Korea (470,000), Philippines (360,000), Thailand (150,000), Japan (220,000) and the US (190,000) this year.

Following challenges thrown up by Hong Kong’s social unrest and the coronavirus, the priority now is to bolster recovery of travel to Macau.

The Feasibility Study on Tourist Tax Imposition was completed last year, with 95% of locals showing interest in the proposition, but many stakeholders within the tourism industry were against it.

Overall, the study referenced 11 of the UN World Tourism Organisation’s improvement strategies in response to last year’s fears of overtourism.

It was found that strategies including “promoting the dispersal of visitors within the city and beyond” and “improving urban infrastructure and facilities” were more popular among other cities.

Macau is focusing on sustainable tourism development, and as the tourism industry plays a pivotal role in the economy of the territory, measures like tax reduction and economic support are currently balancing the current challenges.  

According to PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) the future for Macau looks bright with the association predicting 26.42 million visitors by year-end, which would break down into over 2.8 million visitors per months from this month on.

The breakdown it anticipates includes 18.46 million visitors from mainland China, 4.97 from Hong Kong and 660,000 from Taiwan.

Looking further afield, strong inbound visitor numbers are expected from South Korea (470,000), Philippines (360,000), Thailand (150,000), Japan (220,000) and the US (190,000) this year.

The shuttle bus resumed limited operations across the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge on 8 May although for most visitors quarantine measures remain, and foreign tourists are still unable to enter the territory.

PATA has also predicted an impressive 46.69 million tourists will visit Macau in 2021.

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