Macau health officials have further eased entry protocols for travelers arriving from nearby Guangdong Province.
Beginning Saturday, July 10, visitors coming from the southeast China coastal province will be permitted to present border officials with a negative COVID-19 test certificate issued within the past seven days. Currently, the negative result must be received within the past 48 hours.
The risk of the COVID-19 situation in Guangdong has subsided,” said Tai Wa Hou of the Macau Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center.
Tai added that the seven-day negative test certificate applies to all travelers, regardless of vaccination. “Not all age groups of travelers are suited for vaccination,” Tai added.
Guangdong residents are also being enticed to visit Macau after the enclave announced that, effective yesterday, July 7, they would no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days upon entry.
Macau has confirmed only nine cases of COVID-19 in 2021. Since the pandemic began, the region has reported a total of only 55 cases and zero deaths.
In 2019, prior to the pandemic, mainland China accounted for nearly 28 million of the 39.4 million visitors who ventured into Macau. People from Guangdong accounted for 46 percent of the China entries.
Along with Macau reporting very few new coronavirus cases, the easing of entry regulations for Guangdongers is because of the province being COVID-19 free since June 20.
In addition to Guangdong, Hong Kong is a crucial feeder market for Macau tourism. In 2019, the nearby Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) was responsible for more than 7.3 million visitor entries.
Macau and Hong Kong officials are currently finalizing a plan to allow for quarantine-free cross-border travel between the two SARs. The plan is to allow vaccinated travelers to come and go freely without undergoing medical supervision, so long as they present a negative COVID-19 test conducted within the past 48 hours.
The Blue Health Code program is being designed on the Macau Health Code mobile app. The software application will allow travelers to easily store their test certificates and proof of vaccination to present at border crossings.
Easier entry rules are key for Macau’s casino industry to recover to pre-pandemic levels. But a report this week from Fitch Ratings says that won’t happen anytime soon.
The credit rating agency forecast this week that gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau will not return to 2019 levels until 2024.
Fitch’s assumptions include a full recovery to 2019 levels for US regionals, Las Vegas, and Macau by 2022, 2023, and 2024, respectively, which may prove conservative, given current trends. However, this considers the potential for renewed pandemic restrictions amid slowing domestic vaccination penetration and uncertainty regarding viral variants.”
Macau GGR in June totaled $820 million, 73 percent lower than June 2019. Through the first half of 2021, casino win totals $6.13 billion. That’s down from $18.7 billion in the first six months of 2019 — a reduction of $12.57 billion.