A new measure intended to alleviate crowd congestion in popular tourist spots will be tested during this week’s Labour Day holiday, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Alexis Tam Chon Weng said on the sidelines of Sunday’s water-splashing festival on Hac Sa Beach in Coloane.
The festival was held to celebrate the Myanmar New Year and the 20th anniversary of the Macau Myanmar Overseas Chinese Association.
Tam held talks with central government officials in the capital last week. He was accompanied by directors of some of the bureaus under his portfolio to discuss the local government’s plans to improve the long-running Individual Visitor Scheme (IVS) and the possible implementation of new measures to control tourist flows.
The IVS was launched by the central government in 2003 after the SARS crisis. It allows mainlanders to visit Hong Kong and Macau on an individual basis. Prior to the scheme, mainlanders could only visit either city on business visas or in group tours.
Tam said the central government had responded positively to his proposals. He said the central government officials agreed that while economic growth was very important, it was also important to ensure locals’ quality of life.
Tam said one of the suggestions he proposed was that the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the Macau Government Tourist Office (MGTO) co-operate in managing the number of IVS arrivals during peak travel times. He added that while the central government agreed with his suggestions, it would have to talk to relevant entities in the mainland before any of the proposals could be implemented.
Tam said that in the meantime MGTO officials will test tourist flow control measures during the three-day Labour Day holiday which begins on Friday.
According to Tam, visitors entering from the mainland will receive SMS messages alerting them of overcrowded tourist spots, in the expectation of diverting them to other areas. He said he was confident that the measure will see positive results. (macaunews/macaupost)