Macau Looks to Boost Tourism with Visa Program

China has added eight cities to the Individual Visa Scheme for Macau to shore up a flagging tourism sector. Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said the SAR hopes to host more international events.

Macau Looks to Boost Tourism with Visa Program

In a new plan to increase tourism to Macau and Hong Kong, China has added eight new cities to its Individual Visa Scheme (IVS), which simplifies travel by mainlanders to the two special administrative regions (SARs).

The program now covers 59 cities including Taiyuan in Shanxi Province; Hohhot in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region; Harbin in Heilongjiang Province; Lhasa in the Xizang Autonomous Region (Tibet); Lanzhou in Gansu Province; Xining in Qinghai Province; Yinchuan in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region; and Urumqi in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. All are provincial capitals.

Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng expressed his support of the plan, saying, “The SAR government will endeavor to promote the hosting of more international events, enriching the content of MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions), as well as cultural and sports activities, so as to create a diversified travel experience for visitors.”

Since the IVS program was established in 2003, Macau has seen a major uptick in mainland tourism. The National Immigration Administration will start the issuing of IVS travel permits to residents from the eight cities on May 27.

Holders of IVS travel permits can stay in Macau or Hong Kong for up to seven days per visit. Visitors from cities outside the program may only travel there in tour groups.