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Macau to focus on recovery, no tax breaks for operators

Macau chief executive Ho Ian Seng says the government is planning to ask Beijing to resume the issuance of travel permits from mainland China to Macau in efforts to foster the recovery of Macau’s integrated tourism and leisure sector.

Ho is set to also negotiate with Guangdong Province on steps for the relaxation of re-entry requirements applicable to Guangdong residents returning to the province after a visit to Macao.

The number of visitors to Macau has plummeted in the first three months of the year, falling 57 percent year-on-year to around 3 million. 

The chief executive made the comments during a 2020 policy address called “Forging Ahead Towards New Horizons” on Monday, where he discussed eight strands of policy - much of it centered around recovery post-COVID-19. 

When asked during a press conference whether the government was planning to reduce the direct gaming tax, the chief executive said there are no plans for reducing the tax.” He also dismissed extending the current gaming concessions past 2022. 

The chief executive said that “everyone” could bid for a gaming concession in Macau in 2022, confirming that none of the current concessions and sub-concessions will be automatically renewed in 2022. 

He said that the government plans to launch a public consultation over the review of Macau’s gaming law in the second half of 2020. 

The chief executive in his address also reiterated concerns over Macau’s over-reliance on gaming. Ho said that the coronavirus had "fully exposed the vulnerability and huge risks of Macau economy’s over-reliance on gaming tourism."

Ho said the government would support gaming concessionaires and sub-concessionaires in organizing a greater number of cultural and sports events, in order to increase their revenues from non-gaming offerings.

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