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Travel, turning or mirage times

António Bilrero*

Since today, August 12, Chinese authorities have been issuing individual and group visas to anyone who wants to enter Macau from Zhuhai. There, right next to Macau, around two million people live.

Many will be able to re-enter the special administrative region. It will not be, near or far, the relief for the local economy. But for just a few thousand, they can only begin to help and, it is admitted, never to harm.

This measure will be in force until 26 August. Exactly 15 days. Once there, and if nothing extraordinary happens in the area of ​​covid-19, intramural or in the surrounding areas, the visa issuance measure will be extended to the whole of Guangdong province. This one already has scale. Anything like about 80 million people. A respectable number. Which is spread over the province that has been the original source of the overwhelming majority of the almost, almost, 40 million Chinese from the interior of China who entered Macau in 2019. This provincial “experience” will be in the air for approximately one month. Until September 23. From that day on, if everything continues to go well, the issuing of visas extends to the whole of China. Nation with more than 1.4 billion people.

Any mishap, in matters of public health, will make this foreseeable journey and consequent turning, a mirage

In other words, with the return to normality, it is expected that this entire gigantic universe will generate millions that will return to Macau. In an orderly and properly controlled manner. From here it is believed that the local economy – overly dependent on the gaming industry – may start to breathe a little better. That is the expectation. The figures for more than half a year of exposure to the new coronavirus pandemic have been overwhelming. For Macau and the world. At the local level, the economy contracted 58.2 percent in the first half of 2020. Gaming revenues in the first seven months of the year slipped 94.5 percent. Only in May, for example, the largest tourist market in the city, coming from the interior of China, gave a 99.4 percent trump. Is it time for some optimism? Yes. But without excessive expectations. Any mishap, in matters of public health, will make this foreseeable journey and consequent turning, a mirage.

*Executive Editor of Plataforma

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