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China tourist visas critical for Macau recovery: LVS

2020/7/24 10:40:10
The resumption of the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS), an exit permit system for mainlanders from certain Chinese cities, is “critical” for the Macau casino industry to recover, said senior executives at Las Vegas Sands Corp. Without such visas, the relaxation from July 15 of quarantine arrangements for travel to the neighbouring Chinese mainland province of Guangdong is “negligible”.

U.S.-based Las Vegas Sands is the parent company of Macau gaming operator Sands China Ltd. The executives were speaking on Wednesday on the second-quarter earnings call of the group.

“We believe Macau is our biggest upside potential, but I think it’s critical to realise that without the IVS being resurrected there’s not much hope for the casinos to come back,” stated Robert Goldstein, president and chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands.

Mr Goldstein said “three steps” would need to be taken in order for the Macau market to recover. “We took the first big step with the quarantine [in Guangdong] being taken away; the second step will be the IVS resurrection, we don’t know when: finally, beyond Guangdong we need to see other provinces open as well.”

Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas Sands chairman and chief executive, said on the conference call that despite the existing restrictions, the company was “seeing the first signs of recovery.”

“Guangdong relaxation is a critical first step towards the relaxation quarantine restrictions in provinces outside of Guangdong, as well as the eventual resumption of tourist visa issuance to Macau,” said Mr Adelson.

The management of Las Vegas Sands said on Wednesday it would continue to execute the previously-announced capital expenditure programmes in both Macau and Singapore, despite some likely delays caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. In Macau, the group is investing an aggregate of US$2.2 billion, including in the rebrand of Sands Cotai Central casino complex (pictured in a file photo) as a British-themed resort called the Londoner Macao.

A portion of the revamp will be done in 2021, mainly related with “external works,” retail and some public spaces within the complex. “The project, aside from external works, still continues to be in the schedule we expect,” said Mr Dumont.

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