Macau’s tourist price index recorded a year-on-year increase of 2.78 percent in the second quarter, according to data released on Friday by the city’s Statistics and Census Service. In the first quarter the index rose by 6.15 percent.
The index reflects price changes in goods and services typically purchased by visitors, but excludes gaming. The majority of gamblers in Macau’s casinos are tourists.
The statistics bureau said the sequential slowdown during the second quarter in the index’s year-on-year growth was partly reflected by price indicators in two of the categories used to create it – accommodation, and transport and communications – having dropped “owing to lower hotel room rates and airfares after the Lunar New Year”; a peak holiday period in China. Price indicators for hotel accommodation fell by 22.60 percent quarter-on-quarter, while those for transport and communications was down 3.51 percent.
Nonetheless, the tourist price index year-on-year growth that did occur in the second quarter owed something to higher hotel prices compared to the same period in 2017.
The average occupancy rate of Macau hotels – one factor in pricing – during the first five months of 2018 stood at 89.3 percent, up 4.4 percentage points from the prior-year period, according to data released in early July by the statistics bureau.
A separate set of data released recently by Macao Government Tourism Office – citing figures from the Macau Hotel Association – showed that the average room rate of the city’s three-star to five-star hotels stood at MOP1,329.30 (US$164.54) for the first five months this year, representing a 5.7 percent year-on-year increase.
Factors other than accommodation costs affecting the tourist price index in the second quarter this year included rising prices at restaurants, for bus fares and for airfares.
Price indices for accommodation, transport and communications, plus food, alcoholic beverages and tobacco rose by 7.05 percent, 6.30 percent and 4.25 percent year-on-year respectively.
For the first half of 2018, the tourist price index rose by 4.48 percent year-on-year.
Judged on an annualised basis – i.e., measured across the 12 months to June 30 this year compared to the equivalent prior period – the index went up by 4.21 percent.
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”I would expect that there might be some clearly-defined criteria … and I’m supportive of a more clearly-defined roadmap for the [gaming] industry”
Co-chairperson and executive director of Macau casino operator MGM China