How much tourism is good for a developing country is debatable. At present, the debate is embroiling in Macau, where the Legislative Assembly is all set to argue the policies and programs to find a sustainable alternative to the negative impacts of excessive tourism. As reported by GGR Asia, Sulu Sou Ka Hou, member Macau legislative assembly has triggered the debate raising concerns about the inadvertent increase in the number of tourists in Macau over the past decade.
While Hou doubts the measures taken by the legislature to dampen the negative impacts of tourists flooding Macau every year, he also proposes an alternative as a redressal. According to Hou, there should be a Cap on the number of tourists visiting Macau. Charging at the idea of making Macau a global tourist hub, he emphasizes on the issues that this policy has created for the locals. Pointing at the inadequate infrastructure in terms of roads and communication, Sou says that Macau is not prepared to continue receiving such significant numbers of tourists which takes a toll on the traffic situation and also leads to increased rents for local businesses.
In 2015, research aimed at studying the tourism capacity of Macau reported that Macau could manage to have anything between 32.6 to 33.7 million tourists annually. However, in 2018 with 35.8 million tourists, Macau had over 2 million people more than what it can handle. As the number of visitors from mainland China continues to rise year-on-year, Hou is strictly opposed to any further rise in number tourists citing that it is just unbearable for the local populace.
Though the local government had been planning towards spreading out tourism to other parts of Macau, it is unlikely that the policy will bring any relief to locals in terms of the problems that Hou seems to be concerned about.
While sizing the number of tourists visiting Macau may take off some pressure from Macau’s public infrastructure and reduce rent and traffic for locals for a region that’s mostly dependent on tourism for revenue, it will not be an easy decision.