Hong Kong SAR government announced that the '0+3' monitoring period and contact tracing 'stay at home safe app' will be scrapped as of 14 December 2022.
The sudden change reflects the wider national trend as China also stopped testing for COVID-19 and adopted the '0+3' scheme for visitors previously implemented in Hong Kong.
In October 2022, South Korea lifted all travel restrictions and the nation moved toward ‘pandemic living.’ While the number of daily cases remains high at over 50,000 in early December, international visitors are returning to Korea. The monthly number of visitor arrivals was recorded at 476,097, a 41% month-on-month growth and approximately 22% of the figure in the same month in 2019.
Following up the virtual tour across Korea launched by Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) and Netflix, KTO launched a themed tour inspired by a Netflix show for foreign visitors in December. These tours extended the popularity of ‘Hallyu (Korean Wave)’ to cultural and historical tours.
Additionally, Korea aims to win the bid as the host country of Expo 2030 in Busan, the country's second largest city situated on the southeast coast. The bid committee expects the event will draw over 30 million visitors and boost Korea’s national prestige.
While the quarantine remains for travellers outside mainland China, the number of visitor arrivals has bounced back to 580,000 in October after the lockdown in July this year. The gaming revenue, however, remained depressed since July. The monthly gross revenue recorded at MOP 3.9 billion in Oct, a 10.7% decrease from 2021.
In late November, Macau announced that the existing six casino operators have been granted 10-year license renewals, indicating the failed attempt of GMM controlled by Malaysian tycoon and Genting chairperson Lim Kok Thay to secure a license of his own.
At the same time, Macau is working hard to diversify its offering from gambling despite the lack of details regarding non-gaming development. The unlikely return of VIP gaming in a grand way has many repercussions for the SAR, especially on employment and tax revenues.
Reopening Status in Asia Pacific
As of December 2022, most countries and regions in Asia Pacific opened their borders and encouraged visitors to embrace the ‘new normal.’ Despite the different reopening timeline, most countries and regions are seeing strong growth of visitors on a month-on-month basis.
The top three countries leading the recovery in Asia Pacific are, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand. Additionally, Japan recorded the strongest month-on-month growth in October, the first month of normal travel since the pandemic, following by Korea and Taiwan, which also recently resumed normal travel to boost inbound tourism.
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