CE: Looking forward to greater number of mainland visitors during Labour Day holiday

The Chief Executive, Mr Ho Iat Seng, speaks to reporters.

The Chief Executive, Mr Ho Iat Seng, today said the Government looked forward to the Labour Day holiday, starting on 1 May, delivering a greater number of mainland travellers to Macao. This would help expedite support for the local economy and promote Macao’s image as a healthy city, of low risk in terms of COVID-19.

Mr Ho, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a public event, said the Government estimated there would be a 20 percent increase in daily visitors during the upcoming travel peak period, relative to the highest daily number recorded recently. The estimate was based on hotel room booking information provided by the hotel industry, he added.

In relation to an expected growth in the number of visitors, people involved in hosting guests were reminded to observe closely anti-epidemic guidelines issued by the Health Bureau, in order to maintain the overall effectiveness of Macao’s epidemic control measures, Mr Ho said.

The Chief Executive additionally stated the Government was striving to realise a scenario whereby people either from the mainland or Macao – that reached 14 days after having been vaccinated against COVID-19 – would be able to travel between the two places without being required to present a nucleic acid test certificate showing freedom from COVID-19 infection. Such an initiative would require the approval of the Central Government, he added.

When asked about a possible ‘travel bubble’ arrangement between Macao and Hong Kong, Mr Ho said he had discussed the issues linked to that topic with the Chief Executive of Hong Kong during a recent visit to Hainan Province. Mr Ho reiterated that the two SARs were exploring the possibility of such arrangement, adding that Hong Kong needed to have zero local COVID-19 cases for a period of at least 14 days, before the two places would have the foundation to discuss any further step toward such an arrangement. Macao would pay close attention to epidemic-related developments in Hong Kong, he added.

In addition, the Chief Executive said the Government needed to evaluate further, whether to allow foreign national domestic helpers – who had completed a two-jab vaccination against COVID-19 – to work in Macao, given the COVID-19 outbreak in neighbouring countries. It was also necessary to take into consideration routes available for them to travel to Macao, as Hong Kong had invoked a flight-suspension mechanism for certain places.

When asked about detailed arrangements in relation to the electronic-consumption benefit plan, Mr Ho said the Executive Council would discuss next week regulation regarding registration for, and usage of, the scheme, since Legislative Assembly had already passed an amendment bill to the Budget Proposal for the Fiscal Year 2021. Once the Executive Council completed its discussion, there would be an announcement to the public, he said.

Mr Ho was asked by reporters about a consultation report on the Macao Urban Development Master Plan (2020-2024), which was published today. Mr Ho said the land reclamation process for New Urban Zone Area D still had to occur, and would be linked to opinions garnered during the public consultation on the matter. Land reclamation for the western end of New Urban Zone Area A would require approval from the Central Government. The reclamation progress for New Urban Zone Area D would depend on sand supply, as the project there was hugely delayed due to an insufficient supply of such material.

Also, Area C and Area D in Nam Van district would consist of low-rise buildings for public facilities. The height of each building would be in accordance with the Urban Planning Law, said Mr Ho.

Regarding planning for Coloane Peak, under the Macao Urban Development Master Plan, the Chief Executive said the Government accepted opinions gathered from the public consultation: those areas would remain as green space, and no residential building would be allowed.

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