China authorities have issued 42.8 million travel visas to Macau, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in the first half of the year, marking a significant increase of 1,509 percent from last year. The figure has recovered to 96.5 percent of 2019 levels.
During the same period, Macau welcomed 11.64 million visitors. This represents 59.6 percent of the daily average in 2019, according to the figures released by Macau authorities,
The National Immigration Administration released the number on Wednesday, noting that the number of border crossings at all Chinese checkpoints registered a sharp increase, reaching 168 million in H1. The tally represents an increase of 169.6 percent yearly, and the number of border crossings has recovered to 48.8 percent of 2019 levels.
This is reflecting China’s reopening. According to AGB checks, the Chinese Immigration service has implemented a series of measures to boost both inbound and outbound travel since China removed all travel restrictions on January 8th. China’s National Immigration Administration has eased restrictions on package tour visa applications to Macau, with the policy already effective since May 15th.
Now, all Chinese citizens are allowed to apply for package tour visas to Macau and Hong Kong at any immigration service center in mainland China, annulling a previous policy under which mainland visitors had to return to their place of origin to apply in person for a visa.
Some neighboring Guangdong cities resumed 24-hour machines for issuing visas to Macau and Hong Kong in February.
The Chinese government also eased study visas for Chinese citizens to Macau and Hong Kong. There was a limit of a maximum of one-year visa for study, but now the rule changed to correspond to the study period. When the course is more than one year, the student does not need to go back to apply for the study visa next year.
The tours and e-visas for mainlanders to visit Macau were suspended since the start of the COVID outbreak in early 2020, with the absence of the eVisa system meaning mainland visitors have had to return to their place of origin to apply in person for a Macau visa.
China resumed e-visas in November last year, and Macau only received its first tour group from mainland China this February.