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Fiona Simmons October 31, 2022 2 min read
China to Introduce eVisas on November 1
China is rolling in a new online visa application system, colloquially referred to as eVisa, that will be used to allow citizens from the mainland to travel to Macau beginning on November 1. The online visa system will replace the in-place application as China continues to digitalize its services, control the inflow and outflow of citizens, and look with a beady eye on nationals who travel to the SAR to gamble.
China Keen to Boost Macau by Reintroducing Mainland Travel
In-person applications were part of the way mainlanders could travel to the gambling hub over the past two and a half years, but this has changed. The government assured, represented by its immigration bureau, that the situation in the SAR was stable enough to mandate the reopening of the borders, despite the entire city undergoing rapid testing for all of its 700,000 citizens and guests because of a new COVID-19 case at the MGM China’s Cotai casino.
The announcement was made via a WeChat government message and it explained that China was keen to introduce new travel policies that could lead to stimulating and promoting social and economic growth in the SAR. However, this ambition will now have to face the reality that COVID-19 has not been completely eliminated and that the disease continues to lurk and reinfect despite the best of precautions.
Presently, Macau’s casinos fear that they might be forced on another shutdown and that their visitations may be limited, which could result in another difficult spell leading up to the end of 2022. Casinos have been buffeted by diminishing results for the past two and a half years, as China has proven a hardliner on the way it has chosen to handle the COVID-19 outbreaks, particularly with strict lockdowns.
No New Shutdowns in Sight Despite Extensive Testing
This zero-covid policy though has been bad for business. The government, though, may choose not to necessarily shut down travel again and try to make a slight course correction in how it tries to control the transmission of COVID-19 and the measures it leverages to achieve this. A second mass testing of Macau is already underway, but this does not mean it would result in Macau. Regardless, we will see what happens in the hours to follow.
The eVisa system, in the meantime, will help authorities to make executive decisions as to who can enter and exit the SAR.