The number of visitors to Macau in the first quarter of 2017 rose 5.6 percent year-on-year, to just over 7.87 million, according to data released on Monday by the city’s Statistics and Census Service.
The quarterly tally was confirmed by the addition of the March data, which showed a 5.7 percent year-on-year increase in all visitors, and an 11.5 percent year-on-year rise in arrivals from mainland China.
The latest data for March and for the first quarter in total indicate Macau remains overwhelmingly a Chinese tourist playground, notwithstanding the government’s campaign to develop the city as a “World Centre of Tourism and Leisure”.
Visitors from mainland China made up 67.5 percent of the first-quarter total, or nearly 5.32 million arrivals, an increase of 7.6 percent year-on-year.
The tally of arrivals of visitors from Hong Kong fell 2.5 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, to approximately 1.52 million. The total from Taiwan rose 1.9 percent from the prior-year period, to 255,600.
When the arrivals from the Greater China market – i.e., the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan – are aggregated, they make up 90.1 percent of all arrivals in the first three months.
Those mainland Chinese coming to Macau as independent travellers under China’s outbound visa system – known as the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) – generated just over 2.76 million arrivals in the first three months of 2017; or 51.9 percent of all visitors from the mainland in that period. Among the IVS visitors, nearly 1.99 million arrivals, or 82.3 percent of the total, were from Guangdong province, next door to Macau.
Investment analysts have noted that IVS visitors tend to spend more money – including on overnight accommodation – than do those arriving on guided tours.
The total of overnight visitors from all markets in the January to March period rose 12.1 percent year-on-year, to just over 3.93 million. The number of same-day visitors declined by 0.2 percent, to just over 3.94 million.
The average length of stay of all visitors in the first quarter increased by 0.1 days, as compared to the prior-year period, to 1.2 days.
The number of arrivals from Australia, the United Kingdom and France all fell year-on-year in the first quarter.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China