China’s National Administration of Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that the government hoped Chinese residents would stay home during the upcoming “Golden Week” holiday – potentially dealing another blow to Macau’s tourism operators.
“With outbreaks of the pandemic in many parts of the country, people are urged to stay put for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays,” the administration said.
It also revealed new steps that have been taken to “improve” prevention measures.
“Firstly, from 10 September to 31 October, Chinese citizens will be required to have a negative nucleic acid test within 48 hours when travelling by air, high-speed rail, trains, cross-province long-distance passenger vehicles and cross-province passenger ships,” it said.
“Secondly, upon arrival at their destinations, people travelling across provinces will be required to cooperate with the government in completing the landing inspection measures, in accordance with the principles of voluntary, free of charge, immediate collection and unrestricted movement.
“Thirdly, when staying in hotels, guest houses and entering crowded places such as tourist attractions, they will be required to check their health code and negative nucleic acid test within 72 hours.”
A Macau travel industry member commented that this is not the first time the Mainland has called for residents to spend the festive season in their own country, as there was a policy to do so during the Spring Golden Week in 2021.
“I am not optimistic about this year’s Golden Week, as Mainland visitors from outside Guangdong Province are reluctant to travel across the province, and with the pandemic in Guangdong Province, there are fewer visitors from Guangdong,” he said.
“The travel trade is already expecting the Golden Week to be affected by the pandemic because this is not the first time it has occurred before Golden Week.
“What the [industry] hopes for now is that the pandemic will be over as soon as possible or that the government will change its policy on pandemic prevention.”
The sombre Golden Week prediction comes just a day after Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, admitted the government would revise down its GGR estimates for 2022 due to the record lows recorded in recent months.