The number of visitor arrivals to Macau was up by 9.3 percent year-on-year in March, to just over 2.73 million. It meant that for the first quarter of 2018, the aggregate of arrivals rose 8.6 percent from a year earlier, to nearly 8.55 million.
The tally of March overnight visitors and same-day visitors rose by 8.6 percent and 10.1 percent respectively. The average length of stay of March visitors held steady year-on-year at 1.2 day, according to data issued on Monday by the city’s Statistics and Census Service.
A number of investment analysts indicate there need not be a direct relationship between the headline number of monthly or quarterly arrivals to Macau and the gross gaming revenue (GGR) produced by the local market. In the first quarter, Macau casino GGR went up by nearly 21 percent year-on-year.
March tourist arrivals from mainland China numbered nearly 1.82 million, or 66.5 percent of all arrivals. March arrivals by Hong Kong ID holders totalled 538,200, or just under 20 percent of all arrivals.
The aggregate of mainland Chinese arriving via the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) in March – a category of visitor judged on a statistical basis to be more valuable to the city’s casinos and the local tourism sector than those travelling by guided tour group – grew by 15.5 percent year-on-year, to 856,200, or 47.1 percent of all arrivals from the mainland.
Guangdong, the mainland province next door to Macau, contributed 69.4 percent of all Macau’s IVS visitors in March, with an aggregate of 594,100 arrivals.
March visitor tallies from the South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan grew by 7.9 percent, 9.3 percent and 6.9 percent respectively.
The number of March visitor arrivals by air increased by 30.6 percent year-on-year, although it was from a smaller base than ferry and land-border arrivals. Airport arrival numbers rose to 271,500, compared to 207,900 a year earlier. Arrivals by land and sea went up by 8.9 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively.
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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