The Macau government has postponed the creation of the long-awaited travel bubble with Hong Kong due to a new case in the region. While plans to allow unquarantined travel between cities have already faced several delays, Macau authorities have previously said negotiations will resume after Hong Kong goes 28 days without a local infection.
This would also allow Macau visitors to bypass the mandatory 14-day quarantine. However, on June 7, Hong Kong registered a new case of Covid-19 and, although it was classified as imported, the Macau government said they need more time to look at the situation in Hong Kong.
Currently, Macau has facilitated travel with only a part of China, and authorities have claimed that any improvement in travel restrictions to Hong Kong will require communication and cooperation with governments. However, Macau intends to resume travel with other countries and territories.
Analyst firm Sanford C. Bernstein predicts that the delay in the Hong Kong travel bubble will prevent Macau from recording a 13% increase in daily visits (based on the number of 3,000 visitors per day).
Macau government hoped to accelerate economic recovery in July and August
Macau tourism was expected to gradually recover with the increase in the number of trips from other places. However, the stagnation of the Hong Kong travel bubble will have a considerable impact on these plans. The city remains focused on the nearby Asian regions, so international visitors may be forced to wait a little longer.
The director of the Tourism Office of the local government, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, projected that the hotel occupancy rate in the months of July and August could reach 80%, compared to the 60% capacity registered in May.
The delay in consolidating the travel bubble with Hong Kong, however, along with existing restrictions for some of China’s provinces, will likely lower this estimate and affect the resurgence of the tourism and gaming industries.