Macau’s gaming operators have received the news they’ve been craving with the Macau SAR Government announcing the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) will resume for residents of Zhuhai from this Wednesday 12 August.
The Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Ao Ieong U, revealed at a press conference on Monday that both IVS and group visas will resume this week, although she warned that should Macau register just one new locally acquired case, IVS would be immediately halted and quarantine conditions implemented again. Those applying for IVS will need to produce a negative COVID-19 virus test obtained within the past seven days and a green health code to be granted a visa.
Ao added that the government was continuing to communicate with mainland authorities and hoped to extend IVS to the rest of Guangdong and eventually other provinces in the near future.
The return of IVS is seen as the single most important step for recovery of Macau gross gaming revenue, with the visas having accounted for around 48% of all Chinese visitors to Macau in 2019. Likewise, 72% of mainland Chinese visitors to Macau last year were from Zhuhai’s Guangdong Province.
IVS was suspended in late January as COVID-19 gripped the region.
The governments of Macau and Guangdong first began easing border restrictions between the two jurisdictions on 15 July with the lifting of a 14-day mandatory quarantine requirement on all people entering Guangdong Province from Macau, however the impact on gaming revenues has been minimal with July GGR falling by 94.5% year-on-year to MOP$1.34 billion – the fourth straight month in which revenue had dropped by more than 90 percentage points.
Ao also revealed that, from Wednesday, visitors entering mainland China from Macau will be able to travel to all provinces nationwide, having previously been required to remain within Guangdong Province for 14 days.