Alexis Tam expresses concern about tourism capacity

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Alexis Tam has acknowledged the challenges arising from the surge in visitor arrivals to Macau, and has promised to safeguard the quality of life of residents.

Tam’s comments were made during the first 2019 Plenary Meeting of the Tourism Development Committee (CDT), held on Wednesday.

Last week, the Macau Government Tourism Office announced it would be studying whether to impose a tourism tax amidst concern the territory may not be able to handle a sharp increase in visitors – especially from the mainland.

On a Wednesday government media release following the meeting, authorities said it will embrace “an open approach to the feasibility study of imposing tourist tax with a keen ear for different voices.”

“It is worth highlighting that tax imposition is one of the various possible means/measures to tackle the issue of tourism carrying capacity. The SAR Government is vigorously looking into different possible solutions to strike a balance between the quality of residents’ life and tourism industry development while encouraging different stakeholders to raise more valuable suggestions,” it added.

During the meeting, numerous CDT members expressed their feedback and perspectives on tourist tax imposition.

There were concerns expressed about the objective and effectiveness of the policy, as well as its potential impact on the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

Macau welcomed 35.8 visitors in 2018 and speaking at G2E Asia on Tuesday, SJM Holdings Chair Daisy Ho said she believed the territory is approaching peak capacity, which is estimated to be about 40 million.