Macau Government Now Focussing On Economic Diversification, Hengqin Port To Welcome Visitors In The Next Three Months

Macau Government Now Focussing On Economic Diversification, Hengqin Port To Welcome Visitors In The Next Three Months

Macau is battling slumping revenue and most of it has been attributed to the ongoing economic feud between the two superpowers China and the U.S. Amidst what can be called a recession, Macau is looking to diversify its economy which means diminishing its reliability on its casino gambling industry.

When China’s president XI Jinping visited Macau last month to attend celebrations marking 20 years of Macau’s handover from the portugese to the Chinese, he was reported to have talked about new economic policies for Macau and about developing the city as a financial hub just like Hong Kong. The change in the policy would include developing Macau as a family-friendly destination instead of just being a gambling hub as it is known globally.

This week, Macau’s Secretary for Administration and Justice, André Cheong Weng Chun promised to have the Hengqin port opened for travellers in the first quarter of 2020. The “port” is a boundary checkpoint between Hengqin island and Macau.

The island is already hosting several non-gaming tourist attractions and the speeding up of the opening of the port is being seen as a part of strategic shift in the policy to diversify Macau’s economy. With the port opened for travellers, visitors could visit Hengqin from Macau with the same mainland visa system that applies to most of the country.

The jurisdiction over Hengqin will remain with Macau. GGRAsia reports that the arrangement was authorised by China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, quoting the Secretary for Administration and Justice.

“The law was actually drafted already, but it needs to go through discussion at the Executive Council and Legislative Assembly,” Mr Cheong said.

The port has been reportedly developed to facilitate entry and exit of about 220,000 travellers on a daily basis and could handle 80 million annually.

GGRAsia reports that the Macau government is also “considering issuing “temporary” permits that would allow tourist coaches to travel to and from the new Hengqin checkpoint via the Lotus Bridge that connects the island – a piece of mainland territory – with Macau’s Cotai casino district. Such temporary permits were mentioned by a Macau transport official to the gathered media at the Monday press briefing.”

Speaking to media on Monday, Mr Cheong said the Macau government was working on local legislation required to formalise and regulate the city’s jurisdiction over the Hengqin port facility.

“The law was actually drafted already, but it needs to go through discussion at the Executive Council and Legislative Assembly,” Mr Cheong said. The official added that the process should not take long; with the Macau authorities aiming to have the facility open in the first quarter of 2020.

The same report also claims that the Macau government is also “considering issuing “temporary” permits that would allow tourist coaches to travel to and from the new Hengqin checkpoint via the Lotus Bridge that connects the island – a piece of mainland territory – with Macau’s Cotai casino district. ”

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