Macau officials said they will proceed with the issuance of tourist visa from today to take visitors back to the district's casinos. Personal and group tours from mainland China will be reinstated in stages.
However, it is unclear when the issuance of visas for visitors outside mainland China to Macau is resumed. Residents of the neighboring city of Zhuhai will be the first of the mainland to be granted Macau tourist visas and the activity will be implemented in the rest of the country in August and September, according to a statement from China's National Immigration Administration.
Macau, the Asian casino capital, turned into a ghost city after imposing a lockdown in late January aimed at preventing Covid-19. Officials say casino owners lose $15 million a day due to the pandemic. Their previous revenue was 5 times that of Las Vegas, with customers mostly mainland Chinese.
In light of the loosening of the travel ban, casino owners expressed delight. Along with the re-issuance of visas, a two-week quarantine order for those from Macau returning to the mainland was also lifted nationwide by China from today.
Macau has a low infection rate with only 46 nCoV infections and no deaths. The region's economy is largely dependent on the tourism and gambling industry, but fell 49 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Although casinos were allowed to reopen after a 15-day closure in February, the world's largest gambling centre remained empty as tourists were banned. People from the mainland make up more than 90% of Macau's tourists.
The number of visitors in the first half of this year to Macau decreased by 84% compared to 2019. Investment bank Morgan Stanley warned casinos there could lose $1 billion in the second quarter.
According to VNExpress