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Macau able to receive more tourists: MGTO deputy

2019-04-08 08:00     Comment:0

Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Deputy Director Ricky Hoi Io Meng said yesterday that with improved infrastructure and tourism facilities, Macau would be able to further raise its tourism carrying capacity.

Hoi made the upbeat forecast while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of yesterday’s Macau Forum, the weekly debate programme hosted by government-owned broadcaster TDM at its Macau Forum studio in Zape every Sunday.

Yesterday’s focus of the forum was on whether Macau should implement a tourist tax – an “entry fee” to be paid by visitor arrivals.

In a plenary session of the Legislative Assembly (AL) last month, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam Chon Weng noted that the findings of a study on Macau’s tourism carrying capacity for 2017 conducted by the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT) showed that the city can receive up to 110,000 tourists per day – or 40 million per year. The findings also showed that there were 21 days in 2017 in which the number of visitor arrivals per day exceeded 110,000, Tam noted.

Tourism carrying capacity
“Tourism Carrying Capacity” is defined by the Madrid-based United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) as “the maximum number of people that may visit a tourist destination at the same time, without causing destruction to the physical, economic, socio-cultural environment and an unacceptable decrease in the quality of visitors’ satisfaction,” according to Wikipedia.

During last month’s plenary session, Tam said it was very important to implement strategies to ensure that the number of visitor arrivals per day is more evenly distributed across the whole year.

Infrastructure
The policy secretary said that with more infrastructure projects to be completed in the future – such as the Light Rail Transit (LRT) as well as projects in the city’s new land reclamation zones – and with the provision of more diversified tourism products, Macau should be able to have a higher tourism carrying capacity.

According to the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC), Macau recorded 35.8 million visitor arrivals last year, a new record, a 9.8 percent increase from 2017 when the city recorded 32.6 million visitor arrivals.

The Public Security Police (PSP) said in a statement yesterday that the number of entries and exits at the Barrier Gate border checkpoint hit a record high of 467,000 on Saturday. The statement also said that the police recorded 1.24 million entries and exits at all the checkpoints of the city on Friday and Saturday. The figures announced by the Public Security Police, who run the city’s immigration service, comprise local residents, visitors, non-resident workers and non-local students enrolled in Macau.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, Hoi said that the findings of the study by the Institute for Tourism Studies – 110,000 tourists per day – were based on various conditions in Macau in 2017.

He noted that Macau’s infrastructure has improved since that year, such as the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB) in October last year, which now is handling visitors who otherwise would have used the Barrier Gate checkpoint.





Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Deputy Director Ricky Hoi Io Meng speaks to reporters on the sidelines of yesterday’s Macau Forum, the weekly debate programme hosted by TDM at its Macau Forum studio in Zape. Courtesy: TDM

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