Macau casino shares experienced a positive boost after the chief executive of Macau, Ho Lat-Seng, announced that Macau is going to accept tourist groups from mainland China again starting in November.
Macau Casino Stocks Surge as COVID Travel Restrictions Are Relaxed
Bloomberg reported that its Intelligence gauge tracking Macau’s six casino operators that have casino concessions in the former Portuguese colony has surged by 8% on September 26 with SJM Holdings and Sands China both gaining an impressive 12%. This marks the highest increase in Macau casino stocks since March.
Since COVID hit, Macau has suffered a serious decrease in visitors mainly due to COVID restrictions. This negatively affected its economy, which is predominantly dependent on tourism.
Casinos endured a decrease in revenue of about 50% year-on-year in August 2022. However, not only casinos suffered from this visitor decline but also other companies such as slot machine suppliers and deliverers of other casino equipment. As a result, a lot of these companies left for other Asian countries with thriving casino businesses and fewer restrictions such as Singapore and the Philippines.
In Case of a Surge in Covid Cases Travel Restrictions Will Be Reintroduced
At a press conference held on September 25, the chief executive of Macau Ho Lat-Seng revealed that Chinese authorities have allowed Macau to accept tourist groups from mainland China again.
Ho said that he made a request to mainland authorities to allow this as Chinese tourists play a central role in Macau’s economy.
As a start, mainland groups will come from four provinces – Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang and Jiangsu, and Shanghai. The expectation is that Macau is going to accept around 40,000 visitors per day, which is about half as much tourists the city welcomed each day before the pandemic started.
China will reintroduce the issuance of electronic visa’s, which will make travel to Macau much easier. However, in case there is a surge in COVID cases again, these plans will be subject to change and China will restrict traveling again.
According to the current rules, Macau visitors must spend seven days in a hotel quarantine and three additional days of health monitoring.
Hong Kong Also Announced the Relaxation of COVID Rules
On September 23, Hong Kong’s chief executive John Lee announced that Hong Kong is abolishing its current requirement for a hotel quarantine for travelers entering the city.
From September 26, visitors shall have to do a PCR test and the following health monitoring for three days during which they will not be allowed to go into bars and restaurants but will be able to move around Hong Kong.
Due to China’s rigid COVID policy and restrictions Hong Kong has experienced a great decrease in the population during the past year. Businesses have also moved to other countries that relaxed restrictions much sooner, turning Hong Kong’s glory of a thriving financial center into a thing of the past.