The Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO), Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, says debate over whether Macau should implement a tourist tax on foreign arrivals into Macau has been put on hold due to greater concerns over the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The MGTO last year launched an investigation and public consultation into the idea which has been implemented in cities such as Venice, Italy. The concept is seen as a possible means of alleviating congestion in Macau due to the mass influx of visitors linked to the gaming industry.
However, Macau last week banned all foreign arrivals from entering Macau, with only mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan residents granted an exception.
With Guangdong also declaring mandatory quarantine on anyone entering the province from Macau, including Guangdong province residents, Macau visitor numbers have plummeted to less than 300 per day.
In the plenary session of the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, Fernandes said the government would no longer consider its tourism tax policy given the current state of the industry.
“It would not be an appropriate time to talk about the tourism tax anymore,” she said. “We should think about how to recover our tourism market, and think about which guest markets can come back quickly and focus on it.”
The MGTO Director suggested the mainland China market could recover soon but said the tourism authority would also target more foreign markets once Macau’s tourism industry begins to stabilize.