The normalization of tourism in Macau, which in 2019 received almost 40 million visitors, will only be possible with a vaccine for covid-19.
“Many countries are currently testing possible vaccines. I hope that vaccines will help to give confidence to restart the movement of tourists ”, said today Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, responsible for the sector in the territory, in an interview with Lusa.
The indications that have been given by different sources, explained the director of the Tourism Services, point out that the resumption of travel is “very conditioned by the appearance of vaccines”.
Earlier this week, scientists at the University of Oxford said that preliminary results of tests on a vaccine against covid-19 showed that it elicited an immune response in hundreds of people.
After tests with about 1,000 volunteers started in April, scientists said the vaccine produced a double immune response in people aged 18 to 55, which lasted at least two months, says the article published in Lancet.
Despite these encouraging results, not only from this vaccine, but also from others that are being tested, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes admitted that “it is very difficult to say when these vaccines will actually be produced and in what quantity they will be produced”.
Macau was one of the first territories to identify cases of covid-19, its borders are still practically closed.
For this reason, the number of visitors to Macau fell by more than 90% in June and 83.9% in the first half, compared to the same periods in 2019.
“In June, we only had 22,000 tourists,” said the official, recalling the latest official data, released on Monday.
Before the pandemic, he stressed, the number of tourists per day was much higher than that recorded throughout the month of June.
“We have already stopped making forecasts” because of the measures that are being updated, she said, when asked about what would be the bet on the number of visitors by the end of the year. In the first six months of the year 3,268,900 people visited the territory, while in the same period of 2019 Macau had been visited by more than 16.5 million.
“Even with the nucleic test, it is difficult to have a resurgence in large amounts of tourism. Because it will be conditioned by the number of tests that may be possible to do ”, he said.
Macau is trying to increase the number of tests, but that number for now only reaches 7,500 people a day, he said.
“It will still be quite difficult for many people to have access to tests”, he explained, reinforcing: “I am not predicting large numbers of tourist movements” because there are still many people who need these tests to visit families in the interior of China.
Only when there are tests for these people can one think of normalizing the movement of tourists, detailed Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes.
Este artigo está disponível em: Português