The initiative was announced by Ho Iat-Seng, chief executive of Macau, as part of an easing of Covid-19 measures. At the time, Ho projected that the number of daily visitors from China could rise to 40,000 as a result.
From today, smart visa kiosks present at all of Macau’s borders will provide e-visa applications, allowing residents from mainland China to travel to the special administrative region without additional paperwork.
The government of Macau said it hoped that increased footfall will open up opportunities for more trade events and economic recovery in the region, which has been hit hard by travel restrictions.
Further policies included in the initiative consist of support for infrastructure, businesses and diversification.
The e-visas come at a time of further uncertainty for Macau’s economy and public health. On 30 October, authorities in Macau imposed a lockdown on MGM Cotai after a small number of Covid-19 cases were discovered there – after no cases had been detected in the region for three months.
Staff and guests at the venue were mandated to stay there until today. But until the cases are contained, all residents in Macau must take a Covid-19 test daily.
Macau is also currently undergoing a public tender licence process, wherein seven operators are battling it out for six concessions to operate in Macau.
The e-visa policy has an in-built circuit-breaker where the new visas may be stopped in the event of a new outbreak, meaning the policy could come to an end if the current case cluster expands.