Christmas and the Chinese New Year (CNY) are the peak holiday seasons in Macao, therefore the city can expect more visitors from the mainland during that time, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong told reporters on Wednesday.
Lei made the remarks on the sidelines of Wednesday’s opening ceremony for The 11th International Infrastructure Investment and Construction Forum (IIICF) at The Venetian in Cotai.
According to Lei, the government has been working on promoting Macao in the mainland and attracting visitors to stay longer in the city to help the city’s economic recovery. He pointed out that since the resumption of the issuing of Individual Visit Scheme travel permits for all mainlanders on 23 September, Macao’s number of tourists has been increasing gradually.
Lei also said that the government has launched a subsidy scheme to attract mainland tourists to the city, noting that until Wednesday, the government has given out 60,000 hotel stays. As a result, he added, visitors’ average stay has risen to about 2.8 nights which has helped the local economy recover. He said that the subsidy scheme had injected MOP 200 million (US$25.1 million) into local economy.
Lei said that Christmas, the Western New Year and Chinese New Year are tourism’s peak seasons, adding he hoped that tourists could stay longer in Macao so they would spend more here. He stressed that the recovery of the local tourism sector is the key to the economy’s recovery overall.
Chinese New Year in 2021 falls on 12 February.
Lei said he would not predict if casino VIP rooms will lay-off more staff, adding that while the number of visitors is increasing gradually, economic recovery takes time.
When asked about the progress of moving the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) from the government’s Social Affairs and Culture Secretariat to the Secretariat for Economy and Finance, which he heads, Lei said that he will strive to complete the transition by February.
Lei’s portfolio already includes supervision of the gaming sector, which is the local tourism industry’s number-one money-spinner.