Macau eases transit visas for mainland Chinese

MACAU has relaxed entry regulations for transit visitors from mainland China, allowing them to stay up to seven days.

Effective since July 1, mainland passport holders are allowed to enjoy seven instead of five days of visit when transiting Macau, if they did not enter the city in the previous 30 days.

Those who violate the new transit regulation will now be granted two days of stay, up from one, if they enter Macau again on a transit visa within 30 days.

Las Vegas Sands & Sands China’s global chief marketing officer, Dave Horton, welcomed opportunities for guests to stay longer in their properties, especially since “a vast majority” of its patrons hail from mainland China.

Cooper Zhang, manager of CITS Macau, international department, found this new policy positive to inbound travel.

He said: “As a tour company, we don’t benefit much from these transit visitors because they mostly come to gamble. However, the longer they stay, the more money they’ll spend in Macau. This would benefit hotels which suffer low occupancy rate in recent months.”

“Mainland Chinese may feel good about the relaxation but it’s definitely not a main reason to drive them to come more,” said Andy Wu, managing director of Gray Line Tours.

“I personally don’t see a big surge in arrivals, given existing factors like the anti-corruption practice by the Chinese government and the recent stock market slump,” he added.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if the revised policy will boost mainland tourist arrivals.

Said a spokesman from the Tourism Research Centre of the Institute for Tourism Studies: “Even if we find a recovery of tourist numbers from the mainland, it may only be the summer holiday effect, rather than an outcome of the policy relaxation. To conclude if it really helps, we need a longer observation period.

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