By Lam Yik
MACAU, Jan 25 (Reuters) – The world’s largest gambling hub, Macau, saw tens of thousands of tourists flock to its casinos and quaint cobbled streets daily during the Lunar New Year holiday, a stark contrast to the shortage of visitors since 2020.
Macau has seen an upsurge in tourists from mainland China since Jan. 8 after China’s special administrative region dropped all COVID-19 testing requirements for inbound travelers from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Macau welcomed more than 71,000 visitors on Monday, the highest single-day record since the pandemic, its government said in a statement on Tuesday.
“I come here to play, it’s good to see people in Macau. It was lifeless during the lockdown and not very good,” said a man named Lam, who traveled to Macau from Jiangmen in neighboring southern China’s Guangdong province.
More than 94% of visitors to Macau during the first three days of the Lunar New Year, Jan. 21-23, came from mainland China and the neighboring special administrative region of Hong Kong. The average number of daily visitor arrivals reached more than 51,000, a year-on-year increase of 217 percent, the government said.
The influx of tourists to the former Portuguese colony, which has had only a trickle of tourists since the start of the pandemic, comes after Beijing reopened its borders with the rest of the world for the first time in three years. in January.
Macau recorded only 15,000 average daily visits in 2022.
“It’s very good that the Chinese government has reopened the border, so I can go anywhere freely and I don’t need to quarantine myself and visit my relatives,” said a woman in visit from Hong Kong, which gave his surname Wong.
Many resorts on Macau’s Las Vegas-style strip were sold out for the holiday season, executives said.
Inside the city’s lavish casinos, visitors flocked to retail outlets such as the Sands China Gondola (1928.HK) filled with Venetian properties, while others clamored for photos at tourist sites popular, including the famous ruins of St. Paul.
Local residents said they hoped the increase in visitors would provide a permanent boost to the city’s beleaguered economy.
“It’s a huge difference from the containment policies during COVID and I feel like the economy can recover quickly, but I’m still unemployed now because of COVID,” said a man from the corner nicknamed Chan.
Written by Farah Master; Editing by Kim Coghill
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
. tourists invade center game Macau during New lunar after fall from restrictions COVID