Macao Relaxes COVID Regulations, But Travel and Casinos Haven’t Recuperated

Macao, a major gambling hub, loosened border controls when China modified its “zero-COVID” policy in December. The change is anticipated to strengthen Macao’s tourism-based economy. The gambling complex is close to Hong Kong on the southern coast of China. Large crowds are currently being discouraged from visiting Macao’s casinos due to a fresh wave of COVID-19 infections in China. According to police figures, the city had an average of only 8,300 arrivals each day between December 23 and December 27. That only represents 68% of the level from November. On New Year’s Eve, things got better as 28,100 people entered the city for the day. However, it only represents 66% of the amount that was observed a year prior.

 

For almost three years, China has been subject to some of the tightest anti-virus regulations in the world. However, China declared last week that it would start distributing travel passports. That might lead to an increase in Chinese travelers visiting other countries, which would probably mean greater competition for Macao. Companies are expecting greater fortune for the 672,000-person area over the Lunar New Year vacations in late January. Casinos are only allowed in Macao, a former Portuguese territory in China. The city’s gaming revenue dropped 80 percent to barely $7.5 billion in 2020 when the coronavirus struck. Although the amount improved to $10.8 billion in 2021, it was still 75% less than the peak of $45 billion in 2013.

 

For Lee Hong-soi, the proprietor of the shop, a recovery could not come soon enough. Even when the admission requirements were loosened, he told The Associated Press, his company has not changed. A negative COVID-19 test result was necessary prior to departure for entry into Macao. Due to their infection, a great number of people from mainland China have been unable to travel to Macao. Some people traveled to Macao to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine due to the rise in instances in China. The Chinese business news website Caixin claimed last month that the vaccination is not available in the mainland.

 

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