China’s National Immigration Administration announced on Tuesday that Guangdong Province will resume approvals of the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) to Macau from 26 August, while other provinces will resume IVS applications from 23 September.
The news comes just a day after Zhuhai revealed it will restart its approval process for IVS applications to Macau for Zhuhai residents from 12 August.
The resumption of approvals for all of Guangdong Province represents a key moment in the recovery process for Macau’s casino operators, with Guangdong residents representing 46% of all mainland Chinese visitors in 2019. Of those Guangdong visitors, 72% utilized IVS.
Also resuming on the same dates will be group visas. However, applications from any areas considered high to medium risks or for those who have stayed in high to medium risk areas within the previous 14 days will not be accepted.
The speed with which the National Immigration Administration provided this latest update, coming less than 24 hours after news of the first tentative steps for IVS in Zhuhai, even caught analysts by surprise with JP Morgan’s DS Kim noting its current modelling “might turn out to be a bit conservative, considering what we view as strong pent-up demand.”
The analysts had on Monday forecast GGR to drop 85% year-on-year in August and 70% in September before recovering to around 60% of 2019 levels in 4Q20, 85% in 1Q21 and 90% in 2Q21, eventually hitting 100% in 3Q21.
“Recall, Macau is the only city outside mainland to/from which mainland Chinese can freely travel without quarantine,” they said.
“Now, the only meaningful ‘unknown’ is timing of the Hong Kong SAR border/quarantine easing as demand from Hong Kong probably comprised ~10% of pre-COVID GGR per our rough estimates.”