Guangzhou Agency Denies Further Tightening of Visa Restrictions to Hong Kong & Macau

Guangzhou Agency Denies Further Tightening of Visa Restrictions to Hong Kong & Macau


    The Guangzhou Post Express, the agency to handle visa applications of the Individual Visit Scheme to Hong Kong and Macau, denied the further tightening of visa issuance to mainland tourists.

    The English press in Hong Kong reported earlier that the Guangdong Province would from October 1 tighten visa issuance of the Individual Visit Scheme so that mainlanders could only visit the SARs from every two months to every three months.

    However, according to the Macao Daily News yesterday, the Guangzhou Post Express which is the agency to handle such visa applications, said that "as of October 2 no information is received about any changes and visa issuance of every two months is still maintained".

    Wu King Kwong, the chairman of the Macau Tourism Council, said that he had heard some Guangdong visitors saying the duration of issuing every second visa had changed to three months, and he added that he did not rule out the possibility as the central government saw the "first time tightening of visa issuance did not significantly reduce the frequency of mainlanders visiting the SARs".

    Mr Wu predicted that the number of mainland tourists in Macau would further decrease and room rates of local three to four stars hotels would also be dropped by about 10 percent if such report was true, the Chinese daily reported.

    However, he added that he did not hear the Guangdong Provincial Government had issued official notice about the change.

    According to information from the Statistics and Census Bureau, the numbers of visitor arrivals from the mainland in June and July this year were respectively 490,000 and 601,000, up by 19.17 percent and 16.9 percent over the same period of 2007.

    And it was only in August the figure dropped by 6.9 percent over the same month of last year and accounted for 604,000.

    Thus, Mr Wu said the central government might "not be satisified" about the effectiveness of issuing one visa every two months to mainlanders and thus further toughened the scheme.

    Although it was becoming harder for mainlanders to come to Macau, Mr Wu said the SAR had its own "attractiveness" and it was more important for the government "to develop more tourism elements as well as increase service quality".

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