Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes (pictured), director of the Macau Government Tourist Office, said she expects the city’s hotel occupancy rate to improve in the coming months. Hotel occupancy rate stood at 83.9 percent in May, down 6.4 percent from a year earlier, according to official data.
“The numbers in March and in April – especially in March – were not very good for [the Macau] tourism [industry]. In March, [hotel occupancy rate] fell by 13 percent [year-on-year]. In April, the numbers improved and the feedback we have from the private sector is that it [hotel occupancy rate] is improving,” Ms Senna Fernandes told reporters on Wednesday, according to the Portuguese-language service of Rádio Macau.
“The figures for May are slightly better than in previous months,” she added.
Visitor arrivals to Macau increased by 0.9 percent year-on-year to 2.55 million in May, according to data from the city’s Statistics and Census Service released on Tuesday.
Total visitor arrivals to Macau in the five months to May 31 however are down by 2.7 percent from the prior-year period, to 12.51 million. March was the lowest aggregate monthly figure in two and a half years, according to government data.
Ms Senna Fernandes said she expects room prices to fall with the opening of new hotels. In May, the average room rate in Macau was MOP1,485 (US$186), down by 7.5 percent from a year ago, show data from the Macau Government Tourist Office.
A report from Morgan Stanley Asia Ltd analysts Praveen Choudhary and Alex Poon suggest there might be other reasons for the declining room rates.
“Most [casino] operators have excess hotel room inventories because junkets are reserving fewer rooms for VIPs (down from 80-90 percent to 30-40 percent of the total number of hotel rooms) and premium mass customers are visiting Macau less,” the analysts said in a report on Wednesday.
“They [casino operators] started slashing prices to attract incremental customers. Hence, in the last few months, we have seen hotel RevPAR [revenue per available room] (mainly because of falling occupancy) and EBITDA [earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation] margins coming down,” they added.
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