The Macao SAR Government has announced a third wave of measures that aim to support the city’s economic resurgence, including the recovery of the tourism and leisure sector. The announcement was made by the Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong at a press conference held on 15 March.
The tourism incentive measures between public investment and tax waivers for the sector are part of a wider programme aimed at supporting employment, stabilising the economy, and caring for people’s livelihoods.
As the Macao economy was undergoing a recovery phase, the Macao SAR Government had decided to launch fresh and targeted measures to support that process. The measures include local tours and subsidies to encourage hotel stays.
Meals, accommodation and tours for Macao residents
The Macao SAR Government will invest MOP120 million to launch the “meals, accommodation and tours for Macao residents” scheme, in a bid to encourage participation in local tours that will foster consumption and support the city’s tourism industry. These measures will be implemented from April to December.
On the basis of the “Macao Ready Go! Local Tours” scheme rolled out in 2020, the new scheme will include a greater number of tours with more attractive activities, and a subsidy of MOP280 will be granted to each eligible Macao ID holder for each tour they join, allowing participants to experience different aspects of Macao.
A hotel experience is also offered as part of the new scheme. Each eligible Macao resident will receive a grant of MOP200 to stay in a Macao hotel. The initiative aims to encourage hotel establishments to offer additional package promotions.
Waiving tourism tax
For eight months (from May to December), the Government will waive the tourism tax payable by establishments providing services to visitors, which is charged at the rate of 5%. This measure covers hotels, bars, gyms and karaoke parlours. It is expected to save the industry a total of MOP440 million.
The global tax-relief and tax-exemption measures announced by the Macao SAR Government amount to an estimated MOP1.06 billion, including the deduction from the tax liabilities of businesses of any profit tax otherwise payable for 2020, up to a maximum limit of MOP300,000.
Spurring local consumption
Other measures aimed to boost local consumption comprise issuing vouchers. As the public has, in the meantime, expressed a number of opinions and suggestions concerning the e-voucher scheme, the Macao SAR Government will work earnestly to garner opinions from the community on how to optimise the scheme.
There will also be consumption benefits for the city’s elderly, in the form of additional discounts, which were budgeted at about MOP567 million.
In addition, Secretary Lei said the Macao SAR Government would begin, this month, distributing the Wealth Partaking Scheme, sooner than was originally planned. The 2021 Wealth Partaking Scheme will see each permanent resident of Macao receive MOP10,000 and each non-permanent resident receive MOP6,000. The scheme amounts to MOP7.235 billion of the Macao SAR Government’s budget.
The authorities also intend to improve vocational training for Macao workers to help them take job opportunities, with an allocation of MOP334 million for the programme in 2021.
To curb the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Macao SAR Government has previously introduced two rounds of support measures to ease the economic pressure faced by Macao residents and local businesses. Both sets of measures were successful in stabilising the economy and reviving Macao’s tourism industry.