SJM welcomes Guangdong’s tougher visas issuance

Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Issue 364, Page 2
Word count: 426
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

The recent tougher controls imposed by the Guangdong government on issuing travel permits to Macau is supported by gaming tycoon Dr Stanley Ho as “the move will limit the amount of money being sent to foreigners’ pockets”.

Speaking after the cocktail celebration of the Italian National Day and the opening ceremony of the Italian Festival at the Macau Tower yesterday, CEO of Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM) and executive chairman of Shun Tak Holdings, Dr Stanley Ho, said he welcomed Guangdong Province’s new travel restrictions in a bid to control the frequency and number of mainlanders visiting the SAR.

“Most of the money from mainlanders who travel to Macau on the Individual Visit Scheme has gone to Americans’ pockets. If so why do Macau still need so many of them to come?” Dr Ho said.

Mainland Chinese are now restricted to applying for the individual visit visa once a month or at a one-month interval between two applications, according to the Macao Daily News last week.

In addition, starting on Monday Zhuhai has suspended the acceptance of new applications for business travel permits to Macau and existing permit holders have also been suspended from applying for multiple-entry visas.

However, the SJM CEO said he would not consider expanding his gaming business to other parts of Southeast Asia because “it’s not easy to open casinos in any of the countries there”.

“For example it has taken Singapore for a long time but the casino is still not ready. I think we’ve to wait at least two or three more years,” Dr Ho said.

“It will also be another five years for Japan if they want to participate in the Asian gaming industry.

“Thailand is also talking about opening a casino, but it won’t be so soon even though Thaksin has already made his return,” he added.

Dr Ho said he had a strong faith in Macau as the region has “long years of experience” and so when it comes to gambling, “people still like coming to Macau”.

“Macau should be able to lead further development of other industries. But not that the gaming industry shall intervene the others, it’s completely wrong,” Dr Stanley Ho said.

He then referred to the Venetian Macau in operating ferry services between Taipa and Hong Kong.

“Do they know how to run a ferry company? They never run one before. It is the first time for them to open ferry services in Macau and it definitely intervenes Shun Tak [China Travel] Ship Management and New World [First Ferry Services],” he added.

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