In Macau, officials are reportedly set to study the possibility of introducing a tax on travelers entering the city in order to raise additional revenues for the purposes of further developing its tourist-related infrastructure.

Budget balance:

According to a report from GGRAsia, the revelation came from Maria Helena De Senna Fernandes (pictured), Director for the Macao Government Tourism Office, only a few months after the government for the enclave of some 667,400 people detailed that it had ended last year with an overall budget surplus of approximately $6.66 billion.

Examples explored:

Fernandes explained that her office intends to look at destinations that had premiered tourist taxes and cited the Italian city of Venice and the nation of Japan as places of specific interest. She also detailed that she had not set a deadline on completing the inquiry but doesn’t ‘want to drag it too long’ as she hopes to be able ‘to present the results so that they can be discussed in detail.’

January saw Japan begin charging all foreign nationals leaving the country a so-called ‘sayonara tax’ of around $9.10 that is being set aside for the purposes of helping local governments to build and maintain their tourist infrastructure. It moreover noted that Venice is planning to introduce a similar duty of about $3.40 from the first day of May and even has plans to increase this charge to roughly $11.29 by the end of 2022.

Gaming gains:

Macau collected approximately $13.21 billion in aggregated taxes from its over 30 gaming establishments last year with this figure accounting for almost 80% of the city’s total 2018 revenues of around $16.59 billion. The introduction of a tourist tax could purportedly improve the former Portuguese enclave’s balance sheet even further as 2018 saw it chalk up a 9.8% rise year-on-year in visitor numbers to nearly 35.81 million.

Operator opinion:

In reacting to the possible introduction of a tourist tax, the Chief Executive Officer for local casino operator, MGM China Holdings Limited, Grant Bowie, proclaimed that any resulting revenues should be ‘used specifically for the promotion of tourism’ instead of being treated as ‘an alternative tax collection method.’

Bowie made the following statement…

“Frankly, I think the government of Macau is particularly fortunate and has a very sustainable and solid financial position at this point in time.”