Foreign tourist groups have been left confused after Chinese officials instituted a temporary freeze on the issuance of six-day visas to visit the mainland through Macau and Hong Kong.
According to a report from the Teledifusao De Macau radio and television broadcaster, Tuesday saw the Macau Travel Industry Council confirm that Chinese immigration had temporarily stopped supplying the convenient visas although the organization declared that the step would not likely greatly affect the economy of Macau.
“International tourists only account for 10% of the overall number of tourists,” Andy Wu Keng Kuong, President for the Macau Travel Industry Council, told the broadcaster. “Of course, there is a decrease in the number of Southeast Asia tourists but still it’s a very small number in the overall tourist figure. I have asked the related public sector and the suspension of the six-day convenient visa is only because of a system upgrade problem. It’s a temporary measure.”
In the run-up to the suspension of visas, Teledifusao De Macau reported that Saturday saw several foreign tour groups refused entry to Guangdong Province, which prompted the broadcaster to link the decision to the coming G-20 summit due to be held near the city of Hangzhou in two weeks’ time.
“Of course we want to travel to China and it’s very inconvenient for us if it will be paused because for us, in the Philippines, we have so many processes to do before getting a visa to China so it’s very inconvenient for us,” a Filipino tourist told Teledifusao De Macau.
The Macau Travel Industry Council declared that it hoped Chinese authorities would resume issuing the visas as soon as possible while Johnny Choi, Sales Director for Estoril Tours Travel Agency Limited, told Travel Trade Gazette Asia that the six-day mainland passes are expected to become available again after September 15.