Searches for China's Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) climbed on mainland travel platforms over the weekend after the SAR said that it expects to receive tour groups from the Chinese mainland starting from November - the first time in almost three years.
Observers said that the move is set to revive Macao's tourism industry and economy, sending the SAR on the fast track of a revival, as mainland tour groups are its key source of visitors.
The news of the relaxation was unveiled by Macao Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng at a press conference on Saturday. He also said that electronic visas are set to be re-issued between late October and early November, as approved by the central government.
Mainland and Hong Kong SAR are the city's two most important sources of tourists. Hong Kong announced last Friday the loosening of COVID-19 quarantine measures from Monday, meaning no more hotel quarantine. Only a three-day self-monitoring period at home is needed for arrivals, ending the hotel quarantine policy, which was in place for around two years.
Xu Xiaolei, marketing manager at China's CYTS Tours Holding Co, which operates at scenic spots, told the Global Times on Sunday that the loosening policies from Hong Kong and Macao will be welcomed by the tourism industry, noting that the two SARs always serve as pilot areas in the country.
"But we will wait for the exact timeline and rules of how the following steps will be taken, and resume relevant tourism products in a timely but cautions manner," Xu said.
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