The Macau government will submit a report to the central government about the city’s tourism carrying capacity with the aim of “optimising” the flow of individual travellers from the mainland, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On said in Beijing on Friday.
Chui also was quoted as saying in a statement released by the Macau Government Information Bureau (GCS) that he had ordered Secretary for Security Wong Sio Chak and Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam Chon Weng to gather data for the report. He said the local government would submit the report to the central government soon.
According to the statement, Chui made the remarks during a meeting with China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) Director Li Jinzao on Friday.
Chui pointed out that the central government requested Macau last year to discuss ways of “optimising” the mainland’s so-called“individual visitor scheme” (IVS) for travel to Macau.
Chui pointed out that the scheme has been in place since 2003. It was implemented to help Macau and Hong Kong cope with a sharp drop in visitor arrivals in the wake of the outbreak of SARS at that time.
The scheme allows mainlanders to visit Hong Kong and Macau on an individual basis. Prior to the scheme, most mainlanders could only visit the two cities on business visas or group tours.
Chui said the aim of optimising the scheme was to ensure that IVS visitors “feel at home” in Macau and that local residents’quality of life and well-being are protected.
Chui said that in response to the large influx of individual visitors from the mainland, his government would assess the city’s human resources and infrastructure. He pledged that his government’s tourism policy will never neglect local people’s quality of life.
Meanwhile, Chui told reporters in the capital on Friday that he had discussed financial issues with People’s Bank of China (central bank) Governor Zhou Xiaochuan earlier that day.
Chui said he had briefed Zhou on the “safety and stability” of Macau’s financial system and improvements in managing the city’s financial reserves.
Asked by reporters about the current decline in gaming revenues, Chui said that economic cycles caused by internal and external factors were “inevitable.” However, he said he was confident that the local gaming industry will have a “sound and stable”long-term development, adding that the government was“cautiously optimistic” about the industry’s future. He also reaffirmed the government’s principle of keeping its expenditure within the limits of its revenues in order to keep its budgets balanced.
Chui also said that the central government had already authorised the joint development by firms from Macau and Guangdong of Zhuhai’s Hengqin Island and Guangzhou’s Nansha district.
The chief executive added that Macau would also take part in the development of Zhongshan city’s Special Economic District of Cuiheng (the birthplace of Dr. Sun Yat-sen) and Jiangmen city’s Daguang Bay Economic Zone.
Chui underlined that Macau has already signed co-operation pacts with Guangzhou and Zhongshan in the area of yacht tourism.
Chui, who attended Thursday’s opening session of this year’s meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC) as a guest, returned to Macau on Saturday. (macaunews/macaupost)