The Macau government will negotiate with the Central Government a limit to the number of tourists arriving from China, said the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam on Thursday.
According to Lusa – the Portuguese news agency, the Secretary said that the high numbers of tourists, a majority of them being from China are causing difficulties to the population and it is time to impose a limit on the flow of people.
“After the Golden Week [holidays] we will arrange meetings with Central Government ministries related to China tourism. We will present our ideas and difficulties,” said Alexis Tam.
“We will tell them ‘Thank you, we are grateful from the bottom of our heart but we can not receive more tourists.'”
The secretary did not mention numbers, but said the government will ask for limits. “There will be a limit but I cannot say the number,” he said.
“Macau is small, we have around 30 square kilometres, we cannot receive more people. Last year we had about 31 million tourists. If the number of tourists continue to grow it will be impossible for us,” said the secretary quoted by Lusa.
Alexis Tam noted that the individual visa scheme, which facilitated the entry of Chinese tourists in Macau, was put in force to help the territory, at a time when the economy had suffered due to the SARS outbreak in 2003.
“We think that at the moment the situation is difficult. The important thing is the quality of life of local citizens. It is already very difficult today to catch transports, eat in restaurants or go to the movies,” said Alexis Tam. (macaunews/lusa)