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China’s individual visa policy starts without direct flights to Macau

The inclusion of eight mainland cities into the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) for visits to Hong Kong and Macau takes effect today, Monday, May 27th.

The policy adds a population of more than 33 million to the individual visit scheme, bringing the total number of cities with this policy to 59, covering a total population of 490 million.

According to Lou Chi Leong, Chairman of the Macau Hoteliers & Innkeepers Association, none of the eight cities currently have direct flights to Macau. He expects that Macau’s air operators will further expand direct flights between Macau and these cities in the future.

He told local media outlet Macau Daily News that the mainland’s high-speed rail network is accessible in all directions, and passengers can also reach Macau using Zhuhai Airport. A previous study by Seaport Research found that in 2023, Zhuhai Airport handled 11.5 million passengers, approximately 90 percent of the traffic registered in 2019, with service to 84 mainland cities. This indicates its growing importance as a transport hub.

The consultancy firm believes that Zhuhai Airport’s strategic positioning as a gateway to Macau offers a cost-effective alternative for travelers. This aligns with the broader vision of the Greater Bay Area initiative, aimed at fostering closer economic cooperation among the Guangdong province, Hong Kong, and Macau.

Lou Chi Leong also mentioned that the eight cities are all provincial capitals, with significant economic development potential and high residents’ spending power. They are expected to bring more high-spending customers to Macau, increasing the number of tourists and promoting the development of Macau’s tourism economy.

Just last week, Macau launched a “Dual Cities” airport lounge at The Venetian Resort, which will allow Macau travelers to check-in for flights departing from Zhuhai and Hong Kong airports.

Visitor arrivals to double

According to the publication, Andy Wu, president of the Macau Tourism Industry Association, indicates that the average daily number of tourists visiting Macau from these eight cities is about 1,000. He believes that this number has the potential to double.

He explains that, although the growth in visitor numbers from these inland cities may not match that of tourists from Guangdong Province, these tourists are expected to stay in Macau for a longer period and contribute more to the local economy due to the relatively long travel distance.

He noted that 10 mainland cities have been included in the IVS scheme this year. Since Xi’an and Qingdao were added to the scheme earlier this year, the number of visitors to Macau has increased by more than 100 percent. In this context, Wu is optimistic about the increase in visitor arrivals this year.

Viviana Chan
Viviana Chanhttps://agbrief.com/
Viviana Chan is an editor, interpreter, and journalist. With over a decade of experience, she writes in English, Chinese, and Portuguese. Viviana started her career in Macau-based newspapers, where she became passionate about the region's social, financial, and cultural development. Her writing focuses on the economy, emerging industries, gaming development, political affairs, and cross cultural-exchange in the business and cultural domains. She is avid for news and eager to discover and cover stories that generate public relevance.

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