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Tour groups from mainland China will ease Macao’s unemployment problems: CE

Ho Iat Seng says city will be first port of call for groups from Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang; other regions to follow later.

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Ho Iat Seng says city will be first port of call for groups from Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang; other regions to follow later.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:48 am

Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng expects the upcoming resumption of mainlanders’ tour groups and their electronic applications for a travel permit to visit Macao will help bring down the city’s unemployment rate.

Ho was speaking after attending Saturday’s National Day reception at the Services Platform Complex for Commercial and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries (Forum Macao Complex) in Nam Van. 

This summer’s Covid-19 outbreak was Macao’s worst since the start of the pandemic in early 2020. The outbreak, which lasted around six weeks, resulted in 1,821 cases.

Since the start of the outbreak, Macao’s unemployment rate has sharply increased, and the increase in local residents’ jobless rate has been even larger than the increase in the general unemployment rate, which comprises local residents and non-resident workers.

Macao’s jobless rate has continued to rise in the latest employment survey period of June-August, which was announced on Friday last week, according to which the general unemployment rate and local residents’ unemployment rate increased to 4.3 percent and 5.5 percent respectively.

Last month, Ho announced that the central government had decided to allow mainland Chinese tour groups to visit the city again and resume the issuing of e-visas for mainlanders to travel to Macao.

Ho underlined that the increasing number of visitors in the run-up to the ongoing week-long National Day Golden Week was helping Macao’s tourism industry gradually recover.

Ho said that with the rising number of visitors, various service sectors, including the restaurant sector, are needing more workers for their operations, calling for civil society to have confidence in Macao’s economic recovery prospects.

The chief executive also said that he expected a good performance in Macao’s tourism sector during the National Day Golden Week, which ends tomorrow, as well as the upcoming resumption of mainlanders’ tour groups and the issuing of their e-visas to Macao, to be able to “strongly support” the city’s recovery in its tourism industry which, he said, could help reduce Macao’s unemployment rate.

Ho underlined that due to the central government’s zero-Covid policy and the “volatility” of the Covid-19 epidemic situation in mainland China, the organisation of mainlanders’ tour groups will only be resumed in phases, pointing out that initially tour groups from Guangdong as well as Fujian, Jiangsu, Shanghai and Zhejiang will be allowed by the mainland authorities to travel to Macao, before the measure could be extended to other regions.

Ho also noted that the organisation of tour groups to destinations outside mainland China has been suspended for almost three years, pointing out that the new measure announced by the central government last month means that Macao will be “the first tourist destination outside the mainland” to be visited again by mainlanders’ tour groups.

Ho also said that despite the Macao government’s current seven-day hotel quarantine requirement for Hong Kong arrivals, around 100 Hong Kong residents travel to Macao every day on average.

Meanwhile, Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong said that the government had helped around 4,800 unemployed local residents find a job during the first nine months of this year, The Macau Post Daily reported.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:48 am

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