Tag Archives: Macau

Eight New Cities Added to IVS Program

In a move that is expected to boost Macau’s economy, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China announced on Saturday that eight additional cities will be included in the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) program. Starting from May 27, residents from Taiyuan, Hohhot, Harbin, Lhasa, Lanzhou, Xining, Yinchuan, and Urumqi will be able to apply for IVS visas, allowing them to travel to Macau and Hong Kong without the need for business visas or participation in group tours.

Macau Government Welcomes the Development

Ho Iat Seng, the chief official in Macau, celebrated the development and stated that it would bring more visitors to the region. Macau is the only place under Chinese control where casinos are allowed to operate. The Macau SAR Government plans to promote more international events, enrich the content of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions), and offer a diverse range of cultural and sports activities to create a unique travel experience for visitors.

Casino Stocks Surge on IVS News

The announcement of the IVS expansion had an immediate positive impact on the US-traded casino stocks operating in Macau. Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts, and Melco Resorts all saw their shares rise between 1% and 4% as of 11 am EST on Monday. This surge in stock prices reflects investor confidence in the potential growth of Macau’s gaming industry following the IVS expansion.

China’s Continued Support for Macau

Gaming analysts view the addition of eight cities to the IVS program as a clear indication of China’s ongoing commitment to supporting Macau’s economy. It also suggests that Beijing leaders do not strongly oppose casino gaming, which is crucial for Macau, as casinos accounted for 77% of the city’s tax revenue in the previous year.

Macau’s Changing Economic Landscape

The expansion of the IVS program comes at a time when Macau is undergoing significant changes in its economic landscape. The city has recently forced out most VIP junket groups that catered to mainland high rollers, and the six casino companies operating in Macau have pledged to invest nearly $18 billion in nongaming projects at their casino resorts. These investments were made in exchange for 10-year extensions of their gaming licenses.

IVS Program Explained

The Individual Visit Scheme, initiated in 2003, allows people in the 59 qualifying cities to apply electronically for visas to travel to Macau or Hong Kong. The travel permits are valid for up to a year and allow a person to visit the named SAR for up to seven days. There are currently no limitations on the number of IVS endorsements a traveler can receive in a given year.

Increased Visitor Expectations

In January, the Macau SAR Government expected 33 million people to visit the casino enclave this year, which is approximately 84% of the city’s 2019 traveler count. With the addition of eight more cities to the IVS program, this forecast could be revised upwards, further boosting Macau’s economy and its recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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