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Mainland visitors allowed to visit Macau settled on 21 M

In an effort to ease tourist numbers to Macau, the quota for Mainland visitors allowed to visit Macau has been settled on 21 million a year, local media reported.

While restricting Mainland visitations, the government will focus on increasing the number of international tourists. The proposal has been submitted to the Central Government for approval, according to Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam Chon Weng.

“Our largest market is Mainland China, which from a total of 31 million visitors accounts for 21 million, which means that they account for 66.4 per cent of the total number of visitors. Our selection of the visitors is aimed at reaching an equilibrium point,” Tam was quoted as saying by Macau Business.

“For the moment, we want to receive 21 million Mainland Chinese tourists and increase the number of international tourists,” he said. “However, this number is not stable. After the new hotels, Light Rapid Transport and other infrastructure related to public transport are ready the number of Mainland tourists will increase again.”

Macau has the capacity to receive 89,000 to 92,000 visitors per day, Tam added, however, during the Chinese New Year there were 147,000 visitors per day, well above the city’s capacity.

Commenting on the visitor cap, Sterne Agee analyst said: “Recent Macau government comments related to Individual Visa Scheme visitation caps are not a new issue (heightened profile in early February of this year and it has been raised by the Macau Government in years past with no action taken). Still, it is concerning.”

Tam also explained that, despite declining revenues due to, among other things, a smoking ban, the government is still keen on a full smoking ban in casinos and that a proposal is being compiled.

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