The Chinese-language newspaper Macau Daily News last month suggested that the Chinese government was planning to impose visa restrictions on visitors to Macau. The newspaper said that China’s Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) would be tightened, which would cause a quick drop in visitors to the SAR. Conversely, the same newspaper reported the following day that China would loosen visa restrictions. The newspaper cited no official sources for either item, merely hearsay from tourists, and was the only media outlet to allege this change.
Nonetheless, the public markets that trade stocks of companies with Macau properties were negatively impacted, as investors nervously eye the spectacular growth that has slowed recently. Shares declined anywhere from 2 percent to 5 percent as a result of the story.
Chelsea Tam, an analyst with Emperor Securities, said the news came after other concerns were outlined.
“The news triggered a further sell-off in gaming stocks,” she said, “which have already been weighed down by concerns over slowing economic growth in China.”
The Macau government was adamant that nothing had changed.
“We have not received any notice on China tightening visa issuance to visitors traveling to Macau,” said Gigi Chiu, spokeswoman for the Macau Government Tourist Office.