Tougher health rules worry Macau

MACAU, 9 June 2021: Tighter health checks between Guangdong and Macau are cutting arrivals to Macau, a destination that relies almost entirely on gamblers to keep its tourism infrastructure and hotels open.

Hotels in Macau are complaining that stricter travel rules for Chinese resident in Guangdong province are hurting the destination’s core casino business.

The tightening of health checks and border control measures follows a spike of new cases of Covid-19 infection reported in Guangdong.

GGRAsia, an online trade publication for the gaming industry, confirmed that travellers intending to enter Macau from Guangdong must present a ‘negative’ test certificate regarding Covid-19 infection.

The timeframe for the test certificate has also been shortened from seven days to 48-hours before crossing the border, according to Macau’s health authorities.

Prior to this new requirement, such travellers had been required to present a negative Covid-19 infection test report issued within seven days of their intended arrival in Macau.

Tighter test requirements will discourage the flow of casino tourists from neighbouring mainland China provinces, now the core market that keeps casinos and hotels in business.

In the Monday announcement, Macau’s health authorities mentioned the possibility that in future, those travelling between Guangdong and Macau might need to present a certificate showing they had been vaccinated against Covid-19, as well as needing a current test certificate GGRAsia reported.

Tighter rules will “put a brake” on Macau’s recovery in the gaming tourism trade over the past six months, JP Morgan Securities (Asia-Pacific) Ltd reported in its weekly briefing.

“Guangdong is the single-largest feeder market for Macau (61%  of mainland visitors year-to-date), and it also serves as a gateway to other provinces because more than 90% of mainlanders entered Macau via Zhuhai (using high-speed rail or Guangzhou/Zhuhai airports), while direct air travellers comprise only 6% of visitor volume to Macau,” JP Morgan stated.

(Source: GGRAsia)