Reliefs that weigh
We all welcome the reduction of quarantines in Macau. The news, released on Monday by the Chief Executive himself, is a breath of fresh air for a city that for the last two and a half years has been “isolated” from the rest of the world, precisely because of the long periods of quarantine. Ho Iat Seng explained that he intends to implement a system of “10+7” (10 days under medical observation in a hotel plus 7 days of self-management at home) or even “7+7” during the summer holidays.
Chinese and local authorities have long been preaching a gradual reopening through positive indicators in the fight against Covid-19. Since the beginning of the pandemic, quarantines in Macau have only fluctuated between 14+7 and 21+7.
Read more on the subject: Chief Executive admits reduction of quarantines in the summer
Still far from full reopening, it is a sign that what was promised is due. But if the virus knocks on the door again, the plan will be postponed, rethought, and we may even witness a regression in reopening. Nevertheless, it continues to be positive for Macau and its people.
If it happens, vacations are already possible for many, but the measure fundamentally serves those who work here. Quarantine, regardless of the days it requires, is a natural repellent for any tourist. Even more, remember that in the last 12 years only 13 percent of visitors did not come either from Mainland China (64 percent) or from Hong Kong (22.5 percent).
If we analyze the last five years, we see that the tendency to depend on these markets has increased (89.5 percent). Looking at these two markets, neither 2020 and 2021 together reach half of the visitors from Mainland China in 2019 (42 percent); Hong Kong even worse (19 percent).
Beijing has conditioned Macau’s tourist flow and economic environment through its dynamic zero-case policy at the national level and through the obstacles it has placed on the gaming industry and visa issuance. The Hong Kong market is conditioned by the mandatory quarantine.
Analysts in the neighboring SAR see an alternative to the uncertainty that the Chinese market now presents, but there are no signs of reopening in the short term. Therefore, the reduction of the quarantine does little to alleviate the economic pressure of Macau, which needs revenue to restructure and become more international and more diversified.
*Executive Director of PLATAFORMA