The Macau government’s easing of the limits on the length of stopovers by mainland Chinese tourists in transit is expected to be a turning point for business in the city.
The business environment this summer will likely be much easier than previously expected, the Hong Kong Economic Journal said in a report Friday, citing Hoffman Ma Ho-man, vice chairman of Success Universe Group Ltd. (00487.HK), the operator of Ponte 16 casino.
Ma said the relaxation signaled a change in the government’s policy on mainlanders coming to gamble in Macau, which had been stringent over the past year.
The change was possibly a result of a sharp fall-off in the city’s gaming revenues, which dropped to 17.36 billion patacas (US$2.17 billion) last month, below the monthly 18 billion patacas required to keep the government’s budget from sliding into deficit, the report said.
The government announced Wednesday that stopovers in Macau for mainlanders heading to another destination would be limited to seven days, from five days previously, and a further two days if they return within 30 days, as against just one day if they return within 60 days.
The city is poised to take austerity measures if gaming revenues this month slip below 18.4 billion patacas, the report said.
Ma expects that under the new rules, the decline in Macau’s gaming revenues can be narrowed to 30 percent for the whole year, after they fell 37 percent in the first half from the same period a year earlier.
Translation by Vey Wong
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