MACAU – Should Macau introduce a tourist tax? The people of Macau answered the Macau Government Tourism Office’s feasibility study with a resounding 95% in favour.
On the other hand, only 20% of tourism industry operators supported the proposal.
Unsurprisingly tourists themselves weren’t keen, with around 75% saying a tourist tax might affect their willingness to visit, 50% saying their intention to visit would be affected and 25% keeping an open mind depending on the situation.
This comes as the visitor numbers to the territory approached “maximum carrying capacity” of 40 million whereas the current population estimation is approximately 649,000 according to the UN’s World Population Review.
What is especially concerning is that while visitor arrivals keep increasing, tourism income is not keeping pace.
At the same time, could a tourist tax mar Macau’s reputation as a popular destination, affect the city’s economy and prove a challenge to enforce?
Helena de Senna Fernandes, MGTO director, is opposed to the visitor tax, but has suggested that if it were to go ahead the income would be used for urban development.