Macau will allow e-visas and package tours for visitors from today (1 November), after being announced in September as part of a Covid-19 recovery plan.
The initiative was announced by Ho Iat-Seng, chief executive of Macau, as part of an easing of Covid-19 measures. At the time, Ho projected that the number of daily visitors from China could rise to 40,000 as a result.
From today, smart visa kiosks present at all of Macau’s borders will provide e-visa applications, allowing residents from mainland China to travel to the special administrative region without additional paperwork.
The government of Macau said it hoped that increased footfall will open up opportunities for more trade events and economic recovery in Macau, which has been hit hard by travel restrictions.
Further policies included in the initiative consist of support for infrastructure, businesses and diversification.
The e-visas come at a time of further uncertainty for Macau’s economy and public health. On 30 October, authorities in Macau imposed a lockdown on MGM Cotai after a small number of Covid-19 cases were discovered there – after no cases were detected in the region in three months.
Staff and guests at the venue were mandated to stay there until today. But until the cases are contained, all residents in Macau must take a Covid-19 test daily.
Macau is also currently undergoing a public tender licence process, wherein seven operators are battling it out for six concessions to operate in Macau.
The ev-visa policy has an in-built circuit-breaker where the new visas may be stopped in the event of a new outbreak, meaning the policy could come to an end if the current case cluster expands.
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