Government AffairsChina's move to restart individual and group visas to Macau is poised to position the SAR for a recovery bounce during the October Golden Week

Will Chinese tourists soon return to Macau?

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The resumption of tourist visas is seen as a critical move to spur recovery of Chinese inbound travel to Macau.
The resumption of tourist visas is seen as a critical move to spur recovery of Chinese inbound travel to Macau. Photo Credit: Sean3810/Getty Images

China will soon reinstate tourist visas to Macau from the mainland in phases, paving hopes that a recovery bounce for the SAR could be underway during the Chinese Golden Week in October.

Bloomberg reported that residents from the neighbouring city of Zhuhai, in Guangdong province, will be able to get visas from Wednesday onward. The wider province will then follow on August 26, followed by the rest of China on September 23 provided that there are no special situations, said a statement Tuesday from the National Immigration Administration of China.

However, those applying for the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) will still need to present a negative Covid-19 virus test obtained within the past seven days and a green health code to be granted a visa. Mainland residents travelling from high-risk areas may be excluded from entry, according to official reports.

The tourist visa resumption, which comes nearly a month after China relaxed coronavirus-related border restrictions between Macau and Guangdong, only applies to Macau and not Hong Kong.

As well, the resumption of the IVS, popular with gamblers from China, is largely seen as a catalyst to revive the gaming and tourism sectors in Macau. Prior to the pandemic, Macau's gaming revenue was largely derived by Chinese demand, and the latest visa relaxation announcements have led to a rebound of Macau casino stocks on Tuesday.

In addition to the visa resumption, a two-week quarantine imposed on Macau travellers upon their return to the mainland will be lifted throughout the country from August 12, China’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office said in a statement Monday.

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