Macau’s NPC and CPPCC members have universally pushed for the resumption of online applications for the Individual Visit Scheme, also known as e-visas, during meetings with Chinese officials during China’s annual “two sessions”.
The National People’s Congress (NPC) and Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) finished on 11 and 10 March respectively, with Macau’s NPC deputies and CPPCC members having raised concerns over current travel restrictions between Macau and the mainland.
All 12 of Macau’s NPC deputies jointly proposed the resumption of e-visas as soon as possible, pointing out that the recovery of its tourism industries has been slow due to the suspension of IVS e-visa and tour groups to Macau. It is therefore necessary, they said, to resume the online application process for e-visas and tour groups as soon as possible, and to provide more convenient ways to reduce time and procedures during the application process.
The IVS scheme was resumed in stages starting from August 2020, however analysts have noted that a resumption of e-visas will likely be the primary stimulus for a greater jump in visitor arrivals than has been witnessed so far.
“The key jump in visitors will come when IVS visa processing switches back to e-visa,” state Bernstein’s Vitaly Umansky, Kelsey Zhu and Louis Li. “We are not likely to see material alleviation of bottlenecks in the near term. Group visa travel from China will also need to resume to drive recovery.”
It is also hoped that an increase in duty-free shopping by mainland visitors could boost the great depression in Macau’s retail businesses.
Macau CPPCC member Lao Nga Fong suggested cancelation of the mandatory virus test requirement for crossing the borders between Macau and mainland China once a person has received their COVID-19 vaccination. He noted that Macau is currently conducting a mass vaccination of its residents and that herd immunity would be reached soon in the community, therefore entry restrictions should be gradually removed.