The Macau government decided to bring an end to its consideration of the possibility of tourist tax imposition, according to a Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) statement today.
“The decision is taken after making a comprehensive assessment of the findings of the Feasibility Study on Tourist Tax Imposition, the characteristics of Macau’s tourism industry, as well as the latest turn of the situation,” the statement said.
The government said that visitor arrivals have plunged in Macau in recent months, causing various degrees of impact on tourism-related industries and at this stage, it has become a priority to bolster the recovery of the trade.
MGTO completed the Feasibility Study on Tourist Tax Imposition last year.
The findings revealed a divergence of opinions among different stakeholders in Macau society.
The study drew reference on the 11 improvement strategies proposed by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to cope with over-tourism, and revealed that more cities opted for the strategies of “promoting the dispersal of visitors within the city and beyond” and “improving urban infrastructure and facilities”.
Regarding Macau’s goal towards sustainable tourism development, the study findings indicated that “regulating increase in visitor numbers by levying tourist tax may not be the most effective measure applicable to Macau”.
In the wake of the virus outbreak this year, visitor arrivals dropped drastically by over 90 per cent, from 2.85 million in January down to only 210,000 in March.
The MGTO statement also said that “it was such a massive blow to the local tourism industry that other related sectors including hotel, catering and retail industries were affected as well.”
“At the current stage, the government is striving to bolster recovery of the trade through different measures such as tax reduction and economic support, and avoid bringing any adverse effects upon the tourism industry.” the statement said.