Macau had nearly half a million visitor arrivals in the seven days that mainland China counts as the Chinese New Year holiday, according to provisional data from the city’s Public Security Police, issued on Saturday by Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO).
The 451,047 tally was up 297.0 percent on the previous lunar new year, which fell in early February 2022.
In pre-pandemic times, the Chinese New Year festival has been a period of high demand for Macau’s casino and tourism industries. In 2019 Macau had seen over 1.2 million visitor arrivals for that seven-day holiday period, the highest tally since record-keeping began, according to official data.
The daily average over the latest Chinese New Year period was 64,435, with the single-busiest day being the fourth of the festivities – January 24 – which saw 90,391. That was the most since before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, in early 2020.
China’s State Council had designated the holiday period for mainland residents as January 21, a Saturday, to January 27, a Friday, inclusive. The festive break in Hong Kong – another important source market for Macau’s tourists – had been designated as running from January 23 to January 25.
A total of 58.7 percent – or 264,662 – of all Macau’s arrivals for the seven days of the latest lunar new year were people from mainland China. Of this cohort, 132,454 came in via the Border Gate at Gongbei, linking Macau to neighbouring Zhuhai in the mainland’s Guangdong province.
An aggregate of 36.5 percent – or 164,672 – of all Macau’s arrivals for the seven days of the latest lunar new year were people from Hong Kong.
Of these, 112,915 travelled via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge. The bridge spans the Pearl River Delta, providing a direct road link between Hong Kong, and Macau, as well as Guangdong province.
Brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd said in a note last week that visitor arrival tallies alone, had not “accurately” indicated the level of Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the past.
In a Sunday release, Macau’s tourism bureau said the number of visitor arrivals during the festive period had “surpassed expectations”. MGTO said also that the city’s average hotel occupancy rate reached 85.7 percent during the seven-day festivities, with a high point of 92.1 percent on the third day of lunar new year.
The tourism bureau added that the average nightly room rate of Macau tourist accommodation – including hotels, apartment hotels and budget venues – was around MOP1,575 (US$195.31), which it said was up by almost 50 percent year-on-year.
But according to hotel industry commentary to GGRAsia before the break, it was likely that not all the city’s room inventory was available during the period, due to factors including available staffing levels.
Las Vegas Sands Corp, parent of Macau casino resort operator Sands China Ltd, had clarified during its fourth quarter earnings call on Wednesday, that it was not currently operating 2,200 rooms among the inventory at its Londoner Macao resort in the Cotai district, citing being “short of manpower relative to our full operating capacity”.
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