The Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) said in a statement yesterday that it launched an online survey yesterday to collect opinions from residents on the possible implementation of a tourist tax – an “entry fee” to be paid by tourists.
The one-month online survey will end on June 20. Residents can fill in a questionnaire, choosing Chinese, English or Portuguese, on http://www.macaotourism.gov.mo/r/zh/ottr, the statement said. According to the website for the survey, the questionnaire is intended for Macau residents aged at least 18.
In addition to the online questionnaire, the office has also distributed questionnaires to members of the city’s tourism sector, and is carrying out a face-to-face survey of visitors leaving Macau at the city’s various border checkpoints, the statement said.
According to the statement, those who have completed the online questionnaire will be given a souvenir. After the one-month survey is completed, the office will inform them about collecting their souvenir, the statement said.
After consulting the Institute for Tourism Studies (IFT), the office designed the online questionnaire, which is part of its ongoing study on the feasibility of imposing a tourist tax in Macau, the statement said, adding that the opinions collected from residents, visitors and members of the tourism industry will be used as an important reference for the feasibility study.
In a plenary session of the Legislative Assembly (AL) in March, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam Chon Weng said that the government was open to discussing a proposal to charge tourists an “entry fee” in an attempt to control the number of visitor arrivals.
Directly-elected lawmaker Agnes Lam Iok Fong first proposed the tourist tax early this year.
Prominent members of Macau’s gaming, hospitality and tourism sectors have expressed doubts about the effectiveness of a tourist tax in Macau, pointing out that overseas experience shows that tourist taxes are generally too low to deter visitors, apart from the fact that Macau’s public coffers are well filled. The government’s financial reserves exceed half a trillion patacas.