Chinese city of Macao sees a surge in tourists

Chinese city of Macao sees a surge in tourists

Tourists watch a performance at the Ruins of St. Paul's Church in South China's Macao on January 22, 2023. PHOTO XINHUA MACAO - The Macao Special Administrative Region has seen tens of thousands of tourists come into its casinos and picturesque cobbled streets over the Lunar New Year holiday, a stark contrast to the lack of visitors since 2020.

Since Jan 8th, the Macao SAR has seen a surge of tourists from mainland China, after the SAR has dropped all COVID 19 testing requirements for inbound travelers from the mainland and the Hong Kong SAR.

The Macao SAR welcomed more than 71,000 visitors on Monday, the highest single day record since the pandemic, its government said in a statement late on Tuesday.

I come here to gamble, it is good to see people in Macao. It was lifeless and not very good during the lockdown, said a man surnamed Lam, who traveled from Jiangmen in nearby Guangdong province.

More than 94 percent of visitors to the Macao SAR came from the mainland and neighboring HKSAR over the first three days of the Lunar New Year. The average daily visitor arrivals reached more than 51,000, a year-on-year surge of 217 percent, the government said.

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In 2022, Macao had only 15,000 average daily visits.

A woman visiting from HKSAR, who gave her surname as Wong, said that it is very nice that the government has reopened the border again, so I can go anywhere freely and do not need to visit my relatives.

PHOTO XINHUA Many hotel resorts on the Las Vegas style strip have been sold out for the holiday period, executives said.

Inside the city's opulent casino resorts, visitors milled through retail stores such as Sands China's gondola filled Venetian property, while others clamoured for photos at the popular tourist spots including the landmark Ruins of St Paul s.

Local residents said they hoped that the rise in visitors would give a boost to the city's economy.

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It feels like the economy can recover quickly compared to the lockdown policies during COVID, but I am still unemployed because of COVID, said a local man surnamed Chan.