Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam Chon Weng said on Wednesday that he will be able to provide Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On with concrete Chinese New Year (CNY) tourism statistics related to the so-called Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) within a week.
Tam made the pledge while speaking with reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with the Senior Citizens Affairs Committee in the Janbo Building in Rua de Jorge Alvares on Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters at the airport on Wednesday, Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On said that he requested Tam and Secretary of Security Wong Sio Chak to produce a report regarding the city’s tourism carrying capacity during the CNY, which he would submit to the central government to see whether adjustments needed to made to the IVS, a scheme launched by the central government in 2003. The scheme allows individual travellers from the mainland to visit Hong Kong and Macau.
An IVS improvement plan was proposed by Tam on Chinese New Year’s Day on a radio show on TDM, where he was quoted as saying that “there will be a limit, but I can’t tell you the figure,” concerning the possibility of placing a ceiling on the number of IVS travellers allowed into the city. However, a week later, after a meeting with the Tourism Development Committee (CDT), he maintained that the plan was merely meant to “control” the number of IVS visitors and not to “limit” them.
Meanwhile, according to a TDM report Tam also said on Wednesday that the local government would submit its IVS improvement plan to the central government in Beijing “before May.”
“We can convince the central government,” Tam was quoted by the broadcaster as saying in Portuguese on the sidelines of Wednesday’s meeting of the Senior Citizens Affairs Committee. He also said that local residents’ quality of life was at stake. When asked about future measures’ possible impact on some sectors of the local economy, Tam said he could not please everyone. However, he pledged to balance different interests.
“This policy [concerning the flow of mainland visitors to Macau] must be very prudent, very cautious,” he said, adding, “Nothing has been decided yet, we still will review [the plan], talk and negotiate with the respective departments in [mainland] China.” (macaunews/macaupost)