The annual tally of visitors to Macau fell 2.6 percent year-on-year in 2015, according to official data released on Friday. For full-year 2015, visitor arrivals totalled 30.71 million, down by 811,004 year-on-year.
The number of same-day visitors (16.41 million) and overnight visitors (14.31 million) decreased by 3.3 percent and 1.8 percent respectively, said the city’s Statistics and Census Service.
The average length of stay of visitors was 1.1 days in 2015, up by 0.1 of a day judged year-on-year.
In 2015, visitors from mainland China decreased by 4.0 percent year-on-year to 20.41 million. Such arrivals made up 66.5 percent of the annual total for the city.
The 2015 figures show Macau remains significantly dependent on Chinese customers from neighbouring Guangdong province. Mainland tourists came mainly from there (9.04 million, or 29.4 percent of all Macau’s 2015 arrivals). Arrivals from Guangdong were up 0.4 percent year-on-year.
The next largest providers of mainland tourists to Macau in 2015 were Fujian province (872,291) and Hunan province (810,502). Mainland visitors travelling to Macau under the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) dropped by 0.5 percent year-on-year to 9.52 million, with 71.2 percent coming from Guangdong and 4.8 percent from Shanghai.
IVS tourists are described by investment analysts as generally the Macau visitor segment most valuable to local casino resorts due to their higher spending power compared to package tour visitors.
A recent report from brokerage CLSA Ltd on outbound tourism from China mentioned that Macau and Hong Kong had to refresh their offer to Chinese tourists in order to get existing customers to return and to attract new ones.
In 2015, visitors to Macau from Hong Kong (6.53 million arrivals or 21.3 percent of the total) and Taiwan (988,059) increased by 1.7 percent and 3.6 percent respectively.
The Macau government has declared a policy aim of making Macau a ‘world centre of tourism and leisure’. The data for full-year 2015 indicate that the main source markets for non-Chinese visitors showed either sluggish growth or decline in visitor numbers.
Long-haul visitors from the United States (182,532) and Canada (70,973) rose marginally by 0.6 percent and 0.5 percent year-on-year respectively.
Arrivals from South Korea (554,177) edged down by 0.1 percent, while those from Australia (92,404) and the United Kingdom (59,985) declined by 12.8 percent and 1.3 percent year-on-year respectively.
The annual numbers were revealed on Friday by the city’s Statistics and Census Service, with the publication that day of the December data.
The December numbers showed some positives in terms of quality of visitors.
Such arrivals totalled 2.63 million, up by 3.7 percent year-on-year and 1.7 percent month-on-month. Overnight visitors rose by 14.2 percent year-on-year while same day visitors dropped by 5.2 percent. Investment analysts note that overnight visitors are generally worth more to the city’s economy because of their greater spending than day trippers.
During December the number of visitors to Macau from the mainland – that travelled under China’s exit visa system known as the IVS – fell by 0.5 percent year-on-year.
Those mainland tourists arriving on IVS visas in December numbered 736,950, or 28.0 percent of all visitors to Macau that month, show figures released by the city’s Statistics and Census Service.
The aggregate of visitors from mainland China that month was 1.66 million, representing 62.9 percent of all December arrivals. The mainland tourist tally for December was up 1.1 percent from the prior-year period.
Overnight visitor numbers rose to 1.33 million, accounting for 50.5 percent of the total, which the statistics bureau said was the “highest percentage [component] recorded since January 2013”.
The average length of stay of visitors in December increased by 0.3 of a day year-on-year to 1.2 days. The average stay of overnight visitors (2.2 days) rose by 0.3 of a day while that of same-day visitors (0.2 of a day) remained unchanged.
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"The Hong Kong protests may hurt Macau gross gaming revenue by about mid-single-digit (i.e., half of maximum visitation exposure), which should fade away gradually as people will find alternative ways to visit Macau”
DS Kim, Jeremy An and Christine Wang
Analysts at brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd