Lockdown blues is a global malady, and the Macau government offers a remedy. It is paying Macau residents in the form of vouchers for staycations in local resorts.
“Stay, Dine, and See Macau”
The Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO) unveiled a public subsidy program which pays $25 vouchers for each resident to use anywhere in the entertainment sector. Couples can combine vouchers to save $50 on local resorts and restaurants.
The pandemic has driven resort prices to all time lows, with some hotels priced at only $34 per night. The small government subsidy could pay for a nice evening out for thrifty residents. A midweek stay in May at the Hotel Lisboa costs only $34. On the casino studded Cotai Strip, the Galaxy Hotel is $103 per night, and the Mandarin Oriental is $177.
MGTO’s “Stay, Dine, and See Macau” program encourages staycations for travel-restricted locals, and it also pumps much needed revenue back into the suffering resort sector.
The voucher program starts today and runs until the end of the year, and vouchers can be used for resorts, dining, helicopter rides, and guided tours and excursions. Macau residents are also eligible for up to five $75 electronic vouchers for local small businesses.
Staycations Growing in Popularity
The term ‘staycation’ was first coined in 2003 and it has grown in popularity since then. Originally used for budget conscious travelers who couldn’t fly to far away destinations, staycations were a cheap alternative.
But in pandemic times, sheltering in place is a necessity for most people, and the travel and hospitality industries have suffered greatly. Until now. Macau is already an exotic location as a special administrative region (SAR) in south China. As such, gambling is legal compared to Mainland China.
Macau’s history as a Portuguese colonial territory for centuries has created an exotic cultural melting pot which can’t be experienced anywhere else. When Macau was handed back to China a few years after Hong Kong’s return, the development of these regions exploded.
Casino resort development in Macau grew to make Macau the largest gambling hub in the world. But Macau relied heavily on VIP junket tours for wealthy visitors from Mainland China. The pandemic severely restricted travel, and China’s anti-gambling efforts have crippled the junket industry as well.
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