Tourists swarm gambling hub Macau over Lunar New Year after COVID curbs dropped – Reuters

Tourists swarm gambling hub Macau over Lunar New Year after COVID curbs dropped – Reuters

By Lam Yik

MACAU, Jan 25 (Reuters) – The world’s biggest gambling hub Macau has seen tens of thousands of tourists stream daily into its casinos and picturesque cobbled streets over the Lunar New Year holiday, a stark contrast to the dearth of visitors since 2020.

Macau has seen a resurgence of tourists from mainland China since Jan. 8 after the special Chinese administrative region dropped all COVID-19 testing requirements for inbound travellers from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Macau welcomed more than 71,000 visitors on Monday, the highest single day record since the pandemic, its government said in a statement late on Tuesday.

“I come here to gamble, it’s good to see people in Macau. It was lifeless during lockdown and not very good,” said a man surnamed Lam, who travelled to Macau from Jiangmen in nearby Guangdong province in southern China.

More than 94% of visitors to Macau over the first three days of the Lunar New Year, Jan. 21-23, came from mainland China and neighbouring special administrative region Hong Kong. Average daily visitor arrivals reached more than 51,000, a year-on-year surge of 217%, the government said.

[1/6] Visitors pose for photos with a decoration outside the municipal affairs bureau during Lunar New Year in Macau, China, January 24, 2023. REUTERS/Lam Yik

The influx of tourists into the former Portuguese colony, which has had only a trickle of tourists since the start of the pandemic, comes after Beijing reopened its borders with the rest of the world for the first time in three years in January.

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