Macau to implement Tourist Tax?

Macau in seems to be becoming too popular for its own good. 2018 saw 35.81 million visitors, a 9.8% rise in numbers compared to 2017. According to forecasts, 2019 could bring this number up to 38 million.

The Parisian Macao
Parisian Macau

Communities in Macau have raised concerns about the increasing number of visitors and are calling for measures that could guarantee the sustainable development of the city’s tourism industry.

In the past there have already been discussions around a tourist cap to ease the burden on the city’s infrastructure, but this did not go anywhere.

This week a survey has been issued by the Macau government to residents, visitors and the travel trade. The public is not just polled on the tax in itself but also on thoughts about how this tax could be put to use. The government will be collecting ideas and opinions for one month, running from 21st May to 20th June 2019.

“By carrying out the month-long opinion poll, the office [MGTO] hopes to learn about the preference and points of view of residents regarding the feasibility of imposing tourist tax in Macau,” stated the tourism bureau in Monday’s press release.

The bureau’s head, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes said, “We are still collecting opinions, there are different ideas, different opinions.”

What is Tourist Tax?

Tourist tax is not a new thing. In Europe it has been pretty common for a while, charging tourists a few Euros per night. And quite a few Asian countries, like Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and recently Japan, have introduced a tourist tax as well.

The revenue from the tourist tax/city tax/bed tax goes towards financing and maintaining facilities in the area, producing brochures, tourist activities and modernising tourist attractions including museums and castles.

The much dreaded resort fees that we know from Vegas are a different beast, however. These are more for the maintenance of the hotels’ own facilities and for now they are not being laid upon the Macau tourists.

Article by Christin Maschmann