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Macau delays travel bubble with Hong Kong

Macau has delayed its long-awaited travel bubble with Hong Kong due to a new case in the region.

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While plans to allow quarantine-free travel between the cities have faced several delays already, Macau authorities previously stated that talks will resume after Hong Kong goes 28 days without a local infection. This would also allow visitors to Macau to skip the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

However, on 7 June, Hong Kong recorded a new Covid-19 case, and while it was classified as an imported one, officials in Macau said they need more time to observe the situation in Hong Kong.

Currently, Macau has eased travel only with mainland China, and the city’s officials have said any improvement to travel restrictions for Hong Kong will require communication and cooperation with mainland authorities, according to GGRAsia. Macau is also looking into resume travel with other countries and territories.

Analyst firm Sanford C. Bernstein predicts that the delayed travel bubble with Hong Kong will cost Macau a 13% increase in possible daily visitations (based on a figure of 3,000 visitors a day).

It was expected that Macau tourism will gradually recover with the increasing number of travel from other territories. However, the stalling of the travel bubble with Hong Kong will impact those plans considerably.

The city remains focused on nearby Asian regions, so international visitors might be forced to wait longer.

Macao Government Tourism Office director Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes previously hoped the hotel occupancy rate for July and August could reach 80%, from approximately 60% in May.

The delay in the Hong Kong travel bubble, though, coupled with existing restrictions to some of China’s provinces, will likely lower this estimation by some way.

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