Epidemic hits Macau's gambling and tourism industries hard

Tourism-related industries can rely on government support for recovery measures

The government in Macau planned to levy taxes on passengers last year and conduct a feasibility study. However, this year's epidemic has severely hit Macau's gambling and tourism industries.

Tourism-related industries in Macau have been affected to varying degrees.

The Macau Tourism Bureau yesterday said that in view of the significant decrease in visitors to Macau in recent months and that tourism-related industries have been affected to varying degrees, the government in Macau is focusing on supporting the industry's recovery at this stage.

The Macau Tourism Bureau said that the "Feasibility Study on the Collection of Passenger Tax" was completed last year, and the results show that various stakeholders have different opinions on the collection of passenger tax. At the same time, the study also refers to 11 improvement strategies proposed by the World Tourism Organization for excessive passenger traffic.

Strategies used by more cities are "dispersing the distribution of tourists inside and outside the city" and "improving urban infrastructure and equipment." Based on the premise of the industry ’s sustainable development goals, the study reflects "the most effective measures to control passenger growth through imposing passenger taxes or not, suitable for Macau."

Macau Tourism Bureau pointed out that Macau's tourism industry has been affected by political events in Hong Kong since mid last year.

The year-on-year change in monthly visitor numbers to Macau last year has increased from double-digit growth in the first 7 months to a double-digit decline at the end of the year. After the outbreak of the epidemic this year, the number of passengers dropped sharply from 2.85 million in January to 210,000 in March, a drop of more than 90%, which caused a major blow to Macau’s tourism industry. Tourism-related industries including the hotel industry, the catering industry and retail industry are also affected.

Because of the COVID-19 epidemic this year, the number of passengers in Macau dropped sharply from 2.85 million in January to 210,000 in March, a drop of more than 90%, which caused a major blow to the tourism industry.

The bureau believes that the incident reflects that the tourism industry's own characteristics are more influenced by external factors. When encountering unexpected and unforeseen circumstances, the tourism industry is the first to bear the brunt. Each tourism-related industry has been affected to varying degrees in a short period of time.

The Macau Tourism Bureau emphasises that tourism plays an important role in the  economy in Macau, and its sustainable development will directly affect the development prospects of the Macau economy. The government comprehensively considered the results of the study, the characteristics of Macau's tourism industry and the changes in the current situation and decided to stop considering the imposition of passenger taxes.

Macau Tourism Bureau said that at this stage the government will help the industry recover through tax incentives and economic support and try to avoid bringing adverse factors to the tourism industry.

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