Asia-Pacific Gaming

Macau Further Eases Entry Protocols for Guangdong Travelers, Quarantine Lifted

Macau health officials have further eased entry protocols for travelers arriving from nearby Guangdong Province.

SJM Resorts’ unique Casino Lisboa on the Macau peninsula is seen from the Governor Nobre de Carvalho Bridge. People traveling to Macau from Guangdong will find easier entry procedures beginning this weekend, July 10. (Image: Getty)

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. 

Critical Market for Macau

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. 

Gaming Recovery Still Bleak

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. 

Devin O'Connor

Gaming Legislation, Politics, Casino Business, Entertainment----Devin O’Connor’s passion for politics and background in the world of pop culture television give him insight into the gaming industry backstories that often drive news these days. After graduating from Penn State University with a theater arts degree, he worked at MTV Networks/Viacom from 2005 to 2010 as a writer and producer, where his credits included Total Request Live, New Year's Eve specials, and a special featuring poker superstar Daniel Negreanu. He later moved on to the HGTV/DIY Network, where he created, wrote, and produced three series specials: That's So House Hunters, That's So 80s, and That's So 90s. Devin came on board with Casino.org in 2014. He lives in Pennsylvania, and is an avid marathoner, having completed 15 races to date. Email: devin.oconnor@casino.org

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