MGTO to relaunch special transport offers in April also targeting foreigners: Senna Fernandes

2023-03-28 03:26     BY Yuki Lei    Comment:0

Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes told the media yesterday that the government is drafting a plan to relaunch buy-one-get-one-free offers for cross-border transportation services from the middle of next month to the end of June, adding that apart from Hongkongers, foreign tourists who arrive in Macau via Hong Kong will also be eligible for the special offers, with free return tickets to use another day upon purchasing a shuttle bus or ferry ticket to Macau.

Senna Fernandes made the remarks on the sidelines of yesterday’s Racer Wax Figures Unveiling Ceremony at the Macau Grand Prix Museum in Zape.

Senna Fernandes pointed out that Hong Kong is an important transit point for foreign tourists, adding she hoped that by taking advantage of Hong Kong’s transportation services, more international tourists could be attracted to visit Macau, enhancing the effect of combined travel between the two cities.

Subsidy plans for foreign and Taiwanese group tourists will be announced next month, according to Senna Fernandes.

According to an MGTO statement, as of last Thursday, Macau had recorded 2,048 tour groups from the mainland since February 6, with over 60,000 people arriving in Macau. Among the tour groups, 542 were from Guangdong province, involving 17,771 people.

Senna Fernandes pointed out that the current number of group tourists has not reached the pre-pandemic level yet, adding that overnight group tourists are mostly from non-Guangdong provinces. She said: “The ratio of overnight tourists from Guangdong province to other mainland provinces is 1:5.”

According to Senna Fernandes, Guangdong tourists do spend less time in Macau compared to those coming from elsewhere in the mainland who may be visiting Macau for the first time.

Of the total number of package tours arriving in Macau since February 6, 1,439 were covered by the government’s financial support for Macau’s travel agencies, involving 41,562 group visitors.

The government’s subsidy scheme for tour groups from the mainland got off the ground last month, in which a subsidy of up to 400 patacas for each overnight visitor in a tour group will be given to local travel agencies that organise the group’s tour in Macau.

Mainland tour groups to Macau and Hong Kong were suspended by the central government at the start of the pandemic in early 2020, and were resumed on February 6 this year.

When asked about the local tourism carrying capacity, Senna Fernandes said that so far this year, the number of tourists is half of that of the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, adding that the numbers of tourists from Hong Kong and the mainland have recovered by 70 percent and 50 percent respectively, and, therefore, MGTO will strengthen its efforts to attract more foreign and Taiwan tourists.

Senna Fernandes also said that the local hospitality industry has been making “great efforts” to hire employees, hoping to bring the supply of hotel guestrooms “back on track” as soon as possible. She added that a number of new hotels will be put into operation gradually this year, which was believed to help increase Macau’s tourism carrying capacity.

According to a statement by MGTO last week, Macau’s visitor arrivals reached 2.99 million in the first two months of this year.

Meanwhile, concerning the government’s crackdown on unlicensed tour guides, Senna Fernandes noted that MGTO has joined forces with the Labour Affairs Bureau (DSAL) and Public Security Police (PSP) and carried out 330 inspections at the city’s border checkpoints and scenic spots since the beginning of this year. She underlined that in response to the problems caused by unlicensed tour guides, MGTO will continue to liaise with the relevant entities in the mainland, while adjusting its strategy on cracking down on unlicensed tour guides in due course.

The government earlier this month nabbed four mainland tourists working as unlicensed tour guides in Macau. 

Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes talks to reporters on the sidelines of yesterday’s Racer Wax Figures Unveiling Ceremony at the Macau Grand Prix Museum in Zape. – Photo: MPDG

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