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95% of residents support tourist tax: MGTO survey

Findings of MGTO survey on the possible implementation of a tourist tax shows 95% of local residents support such a tax, while 80% of those in the tourism sector oppose it.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:47 am

The Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) said in a statement on Thursday that the findings of a survey on the possible implementation of a tourist tax shows that 95 per cent of local residents surveyed support such a tax, while 80 per cent of those from the city’s tourism sector who responded to the survey oppose it.

The office launched an online survey in May to collect opinions from residents on the possible implementation of a tourist tax – an “entry fee” to be paid by tourists. The one-month online survey ended on June 20. The online questionnaire was intended for Macau residents aged at least 18.

In addition to the online questionnaire, MGTO also distributed questionnaires to members of the city’s tourism sector, and it also carried out a face-to-face survey of visitors leaving Macau at the city’s various border checkpoints.

Thursday’s statement said that MGTO has completed a research report on the possible implementation of a tourist tax and has submitted the report to its “superiors” for review, enabling the government to “study the matter comprehensively and make a decision [on the matter] by carefully considering various factors” such as the possible impact of the tax on Macau’s economy and on its image as a tourist destination, as well as the “overall” policy of Macau’s participation in the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area (GBA).

According to the statement, MGTO collected some 14,900 questionnaires from local residents, visitors, and representatives from the city’s tourism sector. According to the findings, 95 per cent of the local residents asked in the survey support the implementation of a tourist tax, while the remaining five percent oppose it.

The findings show that 20 per cent of those from the tourism city’s sector asked in the survey support the tax’s implementation, while 80 per cent oppose it, according to the statement.

According to the findings, 50.6 per cent of the visitors asked in the survey said that the implementation of a tourist tax would affect their intention to visit Macau, whereas 24.2 per cent said that it would not, while 25.2 per cent said that it would depend on the actual situation before they could tell whether the tax would affect their intention to visit the city or not, the statement said.

Among the local residents supporting the implementation of a tourist tax, 32.2 per cent suggest that the amount of the tax should range between 100 patacas and 199 patacas, while 21.9 per cent propose one ranging between 1 pataca and 99 patacas, according to the statement, which did not elaborate on the remaining 45.9 per cent.

In addition to gathering questionnaires from local residents, visitors and members of the city’s tourism sector, MGTO also carried out case studies concerning the implementation of a tourist tax in other countries and regions. The study on the matter also included a review on the local government’s ongoing measures for improving the city’s tourism carrying capacity, the statement said.

According to the statement, the findings of the case studies carried out by the office show that different regions impose different kinds of such a tax for various reasons, which, the statement pointed out, do not include the purpose of keeping the number of visitor arrivals under control.

According to the Macau Post Daily, the findings of the case studies also show that the implementation of a tourist tax could perhaps only slow down the growth in the number of visitor arrivals in the early stage after such a tax has been imposed, the statement said.

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:47 am

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