Macau recorded a total of 375,000 visitor arrivals during the Labour Day holiday period (between April 29 and May 1), show official data from the local police.
The figure was up by 6.7 percent compared to the prior-year holiday period in 2016, the Macao Government Tourism Office said in a Tuesday press release.
Most visitors to Macau during the Labour Day period – more than 338,000 – came from Greater China (i.e. mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), the bureau said. The number of visitors from mainland China increased by 5 percent year-on-year, while visitor arrivals from Hong Kong went up 7.5 percent.
The figures were recorded by Macau’s Public Security Police, and measured the number of tourists passing through border checkpoints around the city. The tally excludes Macau non-resident employees and students.
May 1 is known in Greater China as Labour Day, being a public holiday. This year, mainland Chinese citizens could enjoy at minimum three consecutive days of recreation during the Labour Day holiday, i.e., during the period Saturday, April 29, to Monday, May 1.
Mainland China is the main source of gamblers to Macau’s casino industry.
People from Hong Kong – Macau’s second main source of visitors and gamblers –also enjoyed an extended break during the Labour Day holiday period.
Investment analysts have noted in previous commentary on Macau that there need not be a direct correlation between numbers of tourists to Macau and gaming spend in casinos. This is because research indicates that high-stakes play by a relatively small number of visitors is still an important component of the market.
Occupancy rates also went up at Macau hotels during the Labour Day period, compared to the prior-year holiday period. The average room rate also increased in year-on-year terms, indicated the press release from the tourism bureau.
The body cited industry figures that showed that hotels and guest houses recorded an average occupancy rate of 94.5 percent during the three-day holiday period this year, a year-on-year increase of 2.6 percentage points.
The average room rate for the period increased by 1.2 percent year-on-year to approximately MOP1,700 (US$213), according to the tourism bureau.
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"The [Macau] government has a lead in this subject in regards to what should be done after the [gaming] concessions expire. We will be first listening to what the government will say”
Ambrose So Shu Fai
Vice-chairman and chief executive at Macau casino operator SJM Holdings