Macau deputy to the Chinese National People’s Congress (NPC), Lao Ngai Leong, has urged Guangdong Province to consider the resumption of online application for Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) visas to Macau.
China reinstated the IVS scheme for Zhuhai residents to visit Macau from 12 August, for Guangdong Province residents from 26 August and for all of mainland China from 23 September, however visitation has been slow to recover and was down 85.7% year-on-year during the October Golden Week.
While visitor arrivals have since risen to more than 20,000 per day, it has been widely suggested that the exhaustive requirements around obtaining visas, as well as obtaining negative virus test certificates and health codes, had limited Chinese travelers’ willingness to visit Macau.
Lao said on Sunday that he had discussed the idea of resuming online IVS applications with Guangdong authorities on several occasions.
“I hoped that the Guangdong Government would conclude the results and experiences of IVS resumption in the past few weeks, and consider easing part of IVS application procedures,” he said.
“For example, travelers are able to reserve IVS application booking through the internet, and complete the application process online. But at the moment it continues to proceed with the application having to be made on-site followed by a seven day wait.”
The Hengqin new border had been in service since 18 August, but Lao revealed that only between 17,000 to 20,000 people used the new border each day and only 10% of those were IVS visitors. He believes the new border still needs to improve its facilities, transportation and promotion to increase usage.
His comments come as Macau announced over the weekend it would quarantine for two weeks all individuals who have been to Kizilsu Kyrgyz Autonomous Prefecture of Xinjiang Province within the past 14 days, starting from 2 November. The prefecture last week recorded 15 asymptomatic cases within the community.