(Yicai Global) Oct.27 -- With four provinces and one city on the Chinese mainland ready to restart group tours to Macao, the special administrative region’s health bureau issued Covid-19 prevention guidelines for tour organizers yesterday.
Following news of the resumption, Macao-related searches on travel guide websites surged about 300 percent.
Mainland group tours will gradually resume, starting first with those from neighboring Guangdong province, and then extending to those from the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Fujian as well as Shanghai, Macao SAR Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said on Sept. 24.
Searches for “Macao” on Mafengwo, a travel tips platform, soared 330 percent at one point, with clicks for “how to have fun in Macao” climbing 241 percent and “keys to travel to Macao” surging 275 percent.
According to data from Tongcheng Travel, within an hour of the release of the news, Macao-related searches skyrocketed. The popularity of “Macao” as a keyword jumped 237 percent over the same period the previous day, searches for hotels in Macao were up 160 percent, and the number of queries for air tickets and flights between the mainland and Macao rose 150 percent.
The latest pandemic prevention guidelines issued by Macao’s health bureau recommend measures before, during and after a trip, including limiting the number of tour groups and requiring tour leaders and guides to have polymerase chain reaction tests, or PCR tests, at least once a week.
November may set off a new wave of travel to Macao, but pandemic prevention and safety must be a priority, said Zhang Mingyang, senior researcher at Tongcheng Research Institute.
Major travel companies, including Spring Tour, told Yicai Global that they expect to resume mainland group tours to Macao next month and have begun planning. But since group tours to Macao and Hong Kong have been suspended for a long time, they need time to make plans while awaiting official notice from the authorities.
Editor: Peter Thomas