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China extends suspension of inbound and outbound group tours

In this picture taken on August 28, 2012, tourists from mainland China take pictures during a visit to Hong Kong. Hong Kong said on September 7, 2012 that Beijing will suspend a plan to allow millions more mainland Chinese visitors indefinitely, after the overcrowded city raised fears over the influx of tourists. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/GettyImages)

China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has announced that a suspension on both inbound and outbound group tours organized by travel agencies or online travel operators will remain in place.

The Chinese authority has also determined not to resume “flights + hotels” travel packages due to ongoing concerns over the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The resumption of tour groups out of mainland China had been seen as potentially another small step in the right direction for Macau tourism and leisure operators, who have experienced a slower than expected recovery following the recent resumption of the Individual Visit Scheme and easing of some border restrictions.

According to the latest notice issued by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, there remains a high risk of a resurgence of COVID-19 infections during this fall and winter, meaning tourism departments and agencies are required to maintain preventative measures.

Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, said Thursday that the gradual resumption of the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) since August provided a positive message for Macau, but operators and residents must stay patient and be aware of risks presented by COVID-19 given high rates of infection in other countries.

Lei noted that the gross gaming revenues (GGR) in October would be better than in September, but “not very much,” and reiterated the government’s stance that the Macau economy would stabilize in the mid to long term.

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