Association: Low-cost tours are low value, incite smuggling

Local leaders have urged the government to ban low-cost tours amid fears of smuggling and reputational damage. The president of the Macau Regional Development Promotion Association, Chan Tak Seng, believes these tours not only bring in minimal revenue but also contribute to the smuggling of goods from Macau into the mainland.

Chan emphasized that these tourists do not spend much money in Macau and instead support smuggling operations by transporting contraband, in an interview with the newspaper Exmoo.

Chan argued that these excursions create a vicious cycle, affecting Macau’s reputation as a tourist destination and the quality of its tourism. He believes that focusing solely on the quantity of tourists is not sufficient and that the government should prioritize attracting tourists willing to spend more during their trips.

The association president also highlighted the risks associated with these low-cost tours, including the promotion of smuggling. He called on the government to implement measures to prevent smuggling, particularly through increased inspections of vehicles with dual registration plates and those traveling to Guangzhou.

Chan’s concerns are further amplified by the recent announcement of a tax exemption for mainland tourists, which he fears could encourage more smuggling activities. The exemption, which allows mainland residents to claim a tax rebate of up to MOP12,000 on purchases made in Macau, may inadvertently promote the smuggling of goods from Macau into the mainland.

Chan also warned about the close ties between illegal money exchanges and smuggling, with many individuals involved in both types of criminal activities. As the new tax exemption only applies to mainland residents, there are concerns that more low-cost tours will be used to exploit this loophole.

The Macau Regional Development Promotion Association is urging the government to take immediate action to address these issues and promote a more sustainable and profitable tourism industry. The association’s stance reflects a broader concern among Macau’s tourism leaders about the impact of low-cost tourism on the local economy and the need to attract tourists who will contribute more significantly to the region’s economic growth. Nadia Shaw

Categories Macau