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China to start issuing electronic visas for Macao tomorrow

Travel industry chief welcomes return of mainland Chinese groups, who see Macao as a ‘safe destination’ despite recent Covid-19 outbreak.

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Travel industry chief welcomes return of mainland Chinese groups, who see Macao as a ‘safe destination’ despite recent Covid-19 outbreak.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:46 am

Mainland China will start issuing electronic visas for Macao tomorrow, the National Immigration Administration (NIA) announced today.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the central government has suspended group travel and the issuance of visas for individual tourists bound for Macao, to forestall outbreaks of Covid-19.

The NIA stressed that the recovery aims to “efficiently reconcile the prevention and control of the pandemic with economic and social development”.

The issuance of electronic visas for Macao will be available to all Chinese citizens, with the exception of those living in areas considered to be at medium or high risk of Covid-19 contagion.

Travel Industry Council of Macau President Andy Wu Keng Kuong said that he hopes that, in the medium term, the recovery will lead to a substantial increase in the number of visitors.

Wu said he believed that Chinese tourists continued to see the territory as a safe destination, despite the city having detected eight cases of Covid-19 since Wednesday.

On Sunday, the Macao authorities announced that they had closed the casino, hotels, shops and restaurants of the MGM Cotai, after detecting a case of Covid-19 in a 43-year-old female croupier.

The entire population of Macao is currently undertaking daily RATs, which will finish tomorrow.

Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng had planned on 24 September to resume issuing electronic visas, along with the resumption of organised group tours, until the end of November.

On Sunday, Macao Government Tourism Office Communication and External Relations Department Chief Lau Fong Chi, declared that the resumption of organised tours would not be affected by the recent cases of Covid-19.

The restrictions imposed on visitors from mainland China during the pandemic have caused a drop of more than 80 per cent in the number of tourists to Macao in the last two years, compared to 2019, when the city welcomed 40 million visitors.

Anyone entering the territory from mainland China is not required to undergo a seven-day quarantine in a hotel room, followed by three days of “medical self-surveillance”, imposed on those arriving from abroad, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

This summer, Macao, which follows the zero Covid-19 policy imposed by Beijing, had to tackle the worst outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic, with the authorities decreeing a partial lockdown.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Macao has recorded six deaths and more than 2,500 Covid-19 cases, including asymptomatic ones, Lusa News Agency reported. 

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:46 am

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