China will resume issuing tourist visas for visitors to Macau, paving the way for the mass return of Chinese punters to the world’s largest gaming hub after months of losses.Zhuhai city in neighboring Guangdong province will begin issuing tourist visas, including both individual and group tours, for mainland residents to travel to Macau again on Aug 12, said Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Ao Ieong U on Monday in a press briefing.The move reverses a ban implemented in late January to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The resumption of tourist visas could gradually be expanded to the rest of the mainland, Ao Ieong said.“By resuming Zhuhai visas first, we will monitor the situation and see if we could strive to achieve more convenience for residents in Guangdong or other places to come to Macau,” she said. “Our economy needs tourists.”In addition, a two-week quarantine imposed on Macau travelers upon their return to the mainland will be lifted throughout the country from Aug 12, China’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office said in a statement. The quarantine rule was previously lifted for Guangdong province last month.The resumption of visas and further lifting of quarantine rules effectively makes way for the revival of the gambling enclave whose revenue had been five times that of the Las Vegas Strip before the pandemic, driven largely by Chinese demand.Without Chinese visitation, Macau’s gaming revenue plunged by over 90% for four consecutive months and operators have been losing $15 million daily in expenses, according to a Morgan Stanley estimate. Rumors of the visa resumption had lifted a Bloomberg gauge of Macau stocks as much as 3.9% on Monday.Macau’s gross domestic product, heavily reliant on the tourism and gaming industry, shrank 49% in the first quarter of this year. Even though casino operators reopened after an unprecedented 15-day shutdown in February, travel curbs meant tourists and high rollers couldn’t get there.The latest moves are “another baby step in the right direction as China and Macau slowly loosen travel between the two jurisdictions,” Sanford C. Bernstein analysts led by Vitaly Umansky wrote Monday. “There is risk that visa issuances could again be suspended if there is a jump in Covid cases.”The coronavirus outbreak has been largely contained in Macau as well as in mainland China, although neighboring Hong Kong is seeing a resurgence. Macau hasn’t found any new coronavirus cases since the end of June.