15 November 2018
Macau aims to strike a balance between tourism and the quality of life of local residents. Photo: Bloomberg
Macau aims to strike a balance between tourism and the quality of life of local residents. Photo: Bloomberg

Macau aims to tweak tourist policy to boost locals’ well-being

Macau has submitted a report to Beijing regarding the former’s tourism handling capacity, and is now awaiting a response, the gambling enclave’s chief executive said on Monday.

Depending the central government’s response, Macau will seek to adjust its policy governing inbound tourists, Fernando Chui Sai-on said in his annual policy address.

The Individual Visit Scheme for mainlanders could be tweaked as the city aims to strike a balance between tourist numbers and the quality of life of local residents, Chui said, according to Apple Daily.

Chui, however, said that there is no plan at the moment to cut the quota on mainland individual tourists. What Macau, instead, wants is to find a way to create a win-win situation, he said.

The government will draft a five-year plan to transform the city into a center of tourism and leisure while speeding up efforts to improve the quality of life for locals, Chui said in his speech.

A committee will be in charge of the plan.

Macau expects the city to record average gross gaming revenue of 20 billion patacas (US$2.5 billion) per month this year, down from an earlier estimate of 27.5 billion patacas.

The new projection translates to an annual revenue of 240 billion patacas, a figure that has not been seen since four years ago when the city reaped 260 billion patacas in its key industry.

Ma Ho-Man, executive director and deputy chairman of casino operator Success Universe Group, said the government’s revised estimate may be somewhat off the mark.

Morgan Stanley had earlier projected a figure of about 263 billion patacas for Macau’s 2015 casino revenue, while Deutsche Bank had said that it expects a 30 percent slide to 246 billion patacas.

Macau’s gaming revenue has fallen for nine consecutive months as of February. Last month, the city recorded only 19.5 billion patacas in gambling revenue, the lowest in 48 months.

After a decade of opening up and rapid growth of the gaming industry, the pace of development has started to slow down, Chui said.

But the government only plans to adjust the pace of the growth in the sector without changing the momentum, he said, adding that he seeks stable growth.

A mid-term review of the sector would be conducted this year by a tertiary education institution, he Chui said.

The review will analyze how each of the six gaming concessionaires conducted their business since the liberalization of the industry in 2002.

Aspects that will be studied will include how the casino operators fared with regard to development of non-gaming elements, creation of jobs and the promotion of Macau residents in the firms.

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