Macau Providing Government Subsidies for Residents Who Take Staycations

Posted on: April 14, 2021, 11:39h. 

Last updated on: April 14, 2021, 11:54h.

The Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) has unveiled a public subsidy program that encourages enclave residents to take a staycation.

Macau staycation casino hotel China
A flyer advertising a science and photographer tour from the Macau Tourism Office is seen. The region’s government is issuing credits and discounts for locals to go on a staycation. (Image: MGTO)

“Stay, Dine, and See Macau” offers Macau residents various incentives to explore the Chinese Special Administrative Region. The program includes vouchers for stays at most casino resorts throughout the area. 

The program begins tomorrow, April 15, and runs through the end of the year. 

Each Macau resident is eligible for a one-time MOP200 (US$25) hotel subsidy. A couple can use both of their vouches concurrently for a $50 discount on an overnight stay. 

With Macau continuing to limit entry into the enclave to only those arriving from mainland China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan, room rates at the glitzy five-star casino resorts remain cheap. 

For a midweek stay in May, a standard room at Hotel Lisboa runs just $34. On the Cotai Strip, the Galaxy Hotel is $103 a night, Mandarin Oriental $177, and Four Seasons $205.

Economic Rebound

Macau is building its COVID-19 recovery not on the typical VIP and mass market gamblers that have long fueled its economy. Instead, the regional government is encouraging its own people to spend locally, and incentivizing them to do so. 

The hotel vouchers are just one element of the “Stay, Dine, and See Macau” initiative. The tourism office is offering greatly discounted tours in partnerships with area attractions. 

One such tour is a guided excursion exploring the ancient architecture of the Coloane Fishing Village. Typically costing MOP308 (US$38.50), the tour is available for Macau locals through the end of the year for only MOP28 ($3.50). 

Other trips include a science and photography course at the Cotai Ecological Reserve, a virtual reality experience at the VR Zone Macau, a behind-the-scenes look at the Macau Grand Prix, and a helicopter ride over Macau and adjacent Hengqin Island. 

Macau residents are additionally eligible for up to five $75 electronic vouchers that can be used at small businesses located in the enclave. Along with the staycation and voucher programs, Macau began issuing its annual Wealth Partaking payments early this month. The checks are typically cut in July. 

Staycations Growing in Popularity

The origins of the term “staycation” traces back to a 2003 article in The Sun News in South Carolina. The portmanteau of “stay” (meaning stay-at-home) and “vacation” has been increasingly used ever since. 

The Merriam-Webster dictionary added staycation for its 2009 version.

Since the start of the pandemic, ‘staycation’ has emerged as a prevailing new trend,” the MGTO said in a release. “For Macau residents to enjoy the joy of short vacations while it is not possible yet to travel abroad, the project ‘Stay, Dine and See Macau’ newly incorporates the experience of local hotels and attractions.”

Singapore is running a similar staycation program. The island city-state issued each adult resident over the age of 18 a SGD$100 voucher (US$75) that can be used at attractions and tours, as well as hotels, including the casino resorts Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa.