China and Hong Kong are the two main sources of gambling tourists visiting Macao, and the Special Administrative Region is in desperate need of them right now. But there is no assurance that it will enter the travel bubble being discussed for all three regions.
Hong Kong is trying to create a travel bubble that Macao would not enter, according to recent rumors. Instead, the Chinese province of Guangdong is expected to be part of the agreement to create the quarantine zone. However, according to local media, CEO Carrie Lam may have suggested that due to “technical problems” Macao may not join the group.
If the agreement is signed, it will have common protocols and recognition of the results of the covid-19 test that are carried out locally in each region. To move around inside the bubble, the visitor requests that they have remained in the bubble for the last 14 days.
Soon after, Lam denied saying that Macao would not be part of the bubble as suggested by the media and what he wanted with Macao CEO Ho lat-seng about participation in the special region.
“The government [is also] discussing with the government of the Macao SAR the agreement for the mutual recognition of the results of virus tests and the exemption of cross-border travelers from compulsory quarantine,” said the Ministry of Food and Hong Kong Health, Professor Sophia Chan.
The operation completed that “the details will be announced separately once the discussion is complete.”
The creation of the travel bubble between Hong Kong, Macao and Guangdong would revive Macao’s battered tourism industry.
“I think it would be very beneficial. I don’t expect revenue from games to skyrocket to previous levels, but just opening [the borders] with Hong Kong would mean a lot to the sides of the games and F&B,” said the professor of Integrated Management of Resorts and Tourism at the Faculty of Business Administration, University of Macao, Desmond Lam.
“It would be enough for the recovery from the post-Covid-19 pandemic and it is what we need. We just have to fight for it,” added Lam.
However, he said that a little more than half of Macao’s visitors come from Hong Kong and Gaungdong. Although he noted if they decide to return their level of spending will probably not be like before.
“I think it is very likely that they will not spend the same amount of money as before because they could limit their visits in terms of days, take shorter trips … and perhaps limit their exposure to areas that may seem too crowded. I think that spending could fall per visitor, but at least there will be some spending,” he said.
Macao’s number of visitors has been increasing slowly. In early June, the Special Administrative Region signed an agreement with Guangdong to issue special passes that allow visitors to move freely to both territories for a week.