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IVS visas could be reinstated within two weeks: analysts

Individual Visit Scheme visas for residents of Guangdong Province could be reinstated within the next two to three weeks following the latest easing of border restrictions between Guangdong and Macau, according to analysts.

Guangdong Province authorities announced on Tuesday an expansion of the Macau-Guangdong travel bubble allowing anyone returning to Macau access to all of Guangdong from 29 July. The news comes just two weeks after restrictions were first eased for those returning to nine Guangdong cities.

While analysts don’t expect this latest measure to provide any material uptick in visitation and GGR for Macau’s casino operators, they do see the move as a positive one and, more importantly, an indication that reinstating IVS could be next on the agenda for authorities.

“We don’t think it makes any (practical) difference for gamblers, as there’s still no travel visa (IVS or package tour) and visitors from outside Guangdong will still need to spend 14 days in Guangdong anyway before traveling to other provinces, but it’s the thought that counts,” said JP Morgan’s DS Kim, Derek Choi and Jeremy An.

“Albeit very slowly, the bubble seems to be expanding little by little and we still think the next logical step is to reinstate IVS for Guangdong residents, which we expect to come in the next two to three weeks in August.”

Credit Suisse analysts Kenneth Fong and Lok Kan Chan also suggested that reintroducing IVS was the next logical step, followed by expanding the relaxation to provinces other than Guangdong.

“The growth driver for gaming revenue is still the IVS re-issuance,” they said in a note.

Around 72% of all visitors to Macau under IVS in 2019 were from Guangdong Province.

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