The long drought of Chinese tourists entering Macau could soon reportedly be coming to an end following news that local officials have decided to partially revive the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) for mainland visitors.
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the IVS system was initiated in 2003 and had eventually allowed residents of some 30 Chinese communities to enter Macau on their own for up to a week in order to enjoy the vast range of entertainment and gambling activities offered by the former Portuguese enclave.
However, this facility was indefinitely suspended from late-January due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which subsequently led to a massive drop in the number of mainland Chinese tourists visiting Macau as well as an associated decrease in business at the city’s casinos. The source detailed that this latter decline was most prominently demonstrated last month as the enclave’s almost 40 gambling-friendly venues saw their aggregated gross gaming revenues plummet by 94.5% year-on-year to slightly over $167.8 million.
In spite of the continued threat posed by the pandemic, Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ao Ieong U, has now reportedly announced that her city is set to revive the IVS system for residents of the neighboring Chinese community of Zhuhai from Wednesday. The government official purportedly explained that anyone wishing to avail themselves of this scheme will be required to obtain a negative test for coronavirus and have been issued with a green health code.
The official moreover announced that Macau is hoping to extend the IVS mechanism to residents of other mainland Chinese communities in the very near future but will again be obliged to completely shelve the facility should just one new case of coronavirus be recorded locally. Correspondingly and she purportedly stated that Macanese tourists will furthermore be permitted to travel across the whole of China from Wednesday without having to fulfil a 14-day quarantine requirement.