Local tourism authorities are hoping that the visit of Zhang Xu, Vice Minister of Culture and Tourism of the People’s Republic of China, to the city to attend this year’s Macao International Travel (Industry) Expo (MITE) could lead to a possible resumption of tour package group visas to the SAR.

Although the issuing of individual tourist visas for Mainland China has resumed since September 23, package tour groups are still not allowed to travel to the SAR.

“We have not discussed anything with him yet but it is a good opportunity since the Vice-Minister can see in loco what we are doing in terms of pandemic prevention and how the situation is in Macau in terms of tourism,” Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) Director, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, said today (Friday) at the 8th MITE opening.

“As he said we now have to gradually resume our activities step by step together with the mainland. We hope after they assess the situation we can move with a wider opening, namely the resumption of package tours”

During his speech at the MITE opening, Zhang stated that Macau and the mainland would gradually re-open the normal traffic flows, as a way to recover a tourism sector greatly impacted by the pandemic.

According to the MGTO Director, preliminary estimates indicate October more than 600,000 visitors were reported in the city in October, with only a slight increase expected until the end of the year.

Concerning overseas visitation, Fernandes noted the city would have to remain “isolated from the rest of the world for a while”, as successive waves of Covid-19 cases are reported.

“It does not depend solely on Macau. We can see a surge of cases in Europe and the US, we have to be cautious. We can’t open up from one day to the other but we are assessing step by step how to relax our measures,” Fernandes added.

This week the United States on Wednesday recorded over 100,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day for the first time since the pandemic began, with most European countries again imposing lockdown measures to deal with a second wave.

The 8th edition of the Macao International Travel (Industry) Expo (MITE) will take place, as promised, from November 6 to 8 at its usual venue, Cotai Expo’s halls E and D at The Venetian Macao.

“This year the largest components of the fair are local entities and our mainland china friends. It will be a good opportunity to know more about new mainland tourism offerings since we will have to remain isolated […] Apart from Guangdong we had representatives from 16 other provinces. We also have a large cloud and online component for exhibitors not able to be physically present,” the MGTO Director added.

Around 350 exhibitors mainly from Mainland and Macay registered for the physical exhibition while some 50 exhibitors are lined up for the virtual exhibition on the cloud.

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