Visa simplification key to Macau pickup: Bernstein

Macau Border

The simplification of visa procedures for Chinese visitors is key to drive a more robust recovery in Macau, where this year’s Golden Week figures proved disappointing, according to a note from Bernstein Research.

A total of 129,967 mainlanders visited Macao between 1-7 October during the National Day/Mid-Autumn Festival Golden Week holiday, a year-on-year decline of 83.6 percent, the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) said. The holiday ended on Thursday.

Gross gambling revenue from Oct. 1-7 came in at MOP1.95 billion, according to Bernstein’s channel checks. That’s down 76 percent from the same period last year and up 279 percent on September.

The firm said the key issue appears to be the onerous visa issuance process, which is taking up to two weeks to process, as well as the mandatory requirement for visitors to have a negative Covid-19 test.

For the month as a whole, Bernstein expects GGR to decline by 70 percent from the same period a year ago. In terms of operators, those with a focus on the premium mass and VIP sectors are likely to perform best in the short-to-medium term as fewer number of visitors will generate higher revenue.

China resumed issuance of individual and group visas from Sept. 23.