Residents who had signed up for the helicopter ride experience, one of the top attractions of the government-subsidised local tours, but didn’t get picked in the lucky draw will get another chance on Tuesday as the government is adding 1,008 places for the ride next month.
A Macao Government Tourism Bureau (MGTO) statement said on Thursday that due to the popularity of the helicopter ride experience, the organiser that operates the flights, East Asia Airlines Limited (EAA), has applied to run additional tours next month.
According to the statement, a total of 90 helicopter rides have been scheduled from 1 to 22 September, with night tours for rides on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and afternoon tours for rides on Fridays to Sundays.
The statement said that the organiser would give priority to the people who were on the waiting list in the first round of the lucky draw last month, and the remaining quota would go to those who didn’t get picked last time.
The person who gets picked will be able to take a partner on the ride, and those who have already been on the ride won’t be eligible for the draw this time.
MGTO Public Relations Division Chief Lau Fong Chi said during Thursday’s regular press conference about the local novel coronavirus situation that the lucky draw would take place on Tuesday.
The government and local tourism groups earlier rolled out the “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” campaign, subsidising local residents to join designated local tours as a way to support the tourism industry, which is being adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The route that includes the helicopter ride originally cost MOP 678, but under the subsidy scheme, local residents only have to pay MOP 398.
The popularity of the ride caused the registration system to crash on the first day it began to accept applications. A lucky draw had to be implemented in the end, where 31,333 joined the draw last month and only 1,000 got lucky.
Lucky resident Tomas Ho told the Macau Post Daily on Thursday that his wife was picked and he was fortunate that he could join her on the ride.
“It was our first time on the helicopter, usually they only fly between Macao and Hong Kong, and between Macao and Shenzhen. There might never be a Macao-Macao route later,” Ho quipped.
“It was very exciting, it’s very different from taking a plane, and we could actually sightsee around and not just looking at the sea and the sky,” Ho said, pointing out that the organiser even gave people one minute to take selfies before boarding.
Ho said the whole ride lasted about 10 minutes and it was worth it.