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Lack of transport limits number of visitors to Macao during Chinese New Year

Tourism officials expect up to 50,000 daily visitors, and 50 per cent hotel occupancy between 22 and 28 January; city to have more flights starting next month.

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Tourism officials expect up to 50,000 daily visitors, and 50 per cent hotel occupancy between 22 and 28 January; city to have more flights starting next month.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:30 am

Macao tourism officials said today they expect a maximum of 50,000 daily visitors at Chinese New Year, 70 per cent less than before the pandemic due to limited maritime and air transport links.

“There is still the problem of transport. We will not be able to have all the maritime transport staff working as before the pandemic and it is still not possible to resume all flights,” Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Deputy Director Cheng Wai Tong said. 

During Chinese New Year 2019, about a year before the pandemic began, 170,000 tourists visited Macao daily, recalled Cheng, who forecast Macao will have “up to 50,000 daily visitors” between 22 and 28 January. 

“We will not be able to have the same number of visitors suddenly” as in 2019, he underlined. 

Cheng also said that hotel occupancy during this year’s Lunar New Year is expected to be between 30 and 50 per cent. The hotel sector, which has been severely affected by the pandemic, is still “not able to have all the rooms filled”, he stressed. 

He added, due to the lack of manpower, hotels are now making adjustments “but they need time to recruit workers”.

Cheng was speaking during a press conference about the Chinese New Year parade, which will take place on 24 and 28 January, with a parade of 18 floats, 24 artistic groups and 1,000 performers from Macao, Hong Kong and mainland China. There will be firework shows after the parades. 

MGTO’s activities welcoming the Year of the Rabbit are budgeted at MOP 30.7 million (US$3.8 million), he revealed. 

This year’s Chinese New Year parade will be the first since 2020, the year all events were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic that shut Macao for nearly three years and put the people in the city under strict restrictions. 

Meanwhile, during the Chinese New Year, Juneyao Airlines will be operating between Shanghai and Macao with one daily flight, while East Asia Airlines will operate eight helicopter services daily between Macao and Hong Kong from 16-20 January, the Civil Aviation Authority (AACM) announced today. 

In addition, starting next month, Air Asia will operate three flights per week to Kuala Lumpur and Thai AirAsia will fly to Bangkok twice per week. 

Starting this month, Air Macau flies once per week to Bangkok and Seoul, Air China flies three times a week to Wuhan, while Shenzhen Airlines operates one one daily flight to Wuxi, according to AACM. 

The aviation authority has also approved the increase or resumption of flight frequencies between Macao and a number of mainland Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Beijing, Chongqing, Nantong, Qingdao, Taiyuan, Tianjin, Wenzhou, Yiwu and Zhengzhou.  

Macao currently has airlines flying to 28 destinations – 21 in mainland China, 1 in Taiwan, and 6 in other Asian cities – and helicopter services to Hong Kong, AACM said. 

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:30 am

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